10/30/05 — Wayne Red Cross assisted 51 families who were victims of fire

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Wayne Red Cross assisted 51 families who were victims of fire

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on October 30, 2005 2:05 AM

The Wayne County Chapter of the American Red Cross assisted 51 families last year who were victims of fires.

When local fire departments respond to a home fire, the Red Cross also answers the call, according to Teresa Williams, disaster services director. "When the Red Cross arrives on the scene of a fire, we move fast," she said.

"Our mission is to quickly address the immediate challenges of those affected providing shelter if needed as well as the means to replace clothing, food, personal items and medications. Most of all, we are there for the people of this community -- the human response when emergencies touch our lives."

To help Wayne County people put a preventive plan in place to help keep their homes safe from fires.

Make your home fire safe

*Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on each individual level of your home.

*If you sleep with your door closed, install smoke alarms inside sleeping areas, too.

*Use the test button to check each smoke alarm once a month. When necessary, replace batteries immediately. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

*Vacuum away cobwebs and dust from your smoke alarms monthly.

*Consider having one or more working fire extinguishers in your home. Get training from the fire department on how to use them.

*Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home.

Plan your escape routes

*Determine at least two ways to escape from every room of your home.

*Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second or third floor. Learn how to use them and store them near the window.

*Select a location outside your home where everyone will meet after escaping.

*Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

Escape safely

*Once you are out, stay out. Call the fire department from a neighbor's home.

*If you see smoke or fire in your first escape route, use your second way out. If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke to your exit.

*If you are escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If it warm, use your second way out.

*If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help using a bright-colored cloth at the window. If there is a telephone in the room, call the fire department and tell them where you are.

"The Red Cross urges families to put these simple preventive plans in place to help keep loved ones and homes safe from harm," said Ms. Williams.