The following is a Press Release from the American Red Cross:
Volunteers with the American Red Cross have responded to help five families who have experienced life-changing fires since Saturday.
Among the services that have been provided are shelter, clothing, food, infant supplies, replacement medications, cleaning supplies and referrals to other community partners.
Yesterday (Oct. 12):
- Two adults received aid after a late evening fire at 314 Anne St. in Lafayette.
- An adult and infant were assisted after a 7 p.m. fire in Opelousas (140 Floyd Lane).
- Two adults affected by a Lafayette fire (504 14th St.) will be meeting with volunteers this evening to determine their needs.
On Saturday (Oct. 8):
- One person was assisted after a 7:30 p.m. fire in Abbeville (311 Martin Luther King Jr.).
- Two adults and two kids received help after a 2 a.m. blaze in Duson (149 Pinecrest Lane).
Recognizing we're still in hurricane season, the biggest disaster threat to families across our nation every day isn't a hurricane or flood; it's fire.
The need for our help is steadily increasing. Last year at this time, we averaged 10 fires a month in the Acadiana chapter. Five fires recorded on two days is far more than we are used to seeing.
In Louisiana alone last year, Red Cross volunteers helped families involved in about 2,000 residential fires. Nationally, the Red Cross responds to more than 63,000 fires, on average, each year.
The American Red Cross encourages people to take steps to minimize the risk of home fires by remembering two key fire safety steps: install smoke alarms and develop a fire escape plan.
"Fires can strike suddenly and spread quickly," said Tony Credeur, community chapters executive. "It's important to take simple steps now, such as installing a smoke alarm inside bedrooms, outside sleeping areas and on every level of their homes. Create a plan of escape in case you and your family need to leave at a moment's notice. During a fire, every second counts and being prepared can greatly reduce the affects of these devastating disasters."
People should check each smoke alarm in their home once a month by pushing the test button and replacing batteries every year, or more often if needed. Fire escape plans should include at least two escape routes from every room in the home and a convenient meeting place at a safe distance from the home. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year and revise as necessary. Families are encouraged to pay particular attention to developing and regularly practicing escape plans for children and older adults.
Additional recommendations include:
- Keep matches and lighters away from and out of reach of children.
- Don't leave the kitchen while you're frying, grilling or broiling food, and don't leave home if you're simmering, baking, boiling or roasting food.
- Once you are out, stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor's home.