Preventing Home Fires
By Melissa LaScaleia
More people die every year in home fires than in any other natural disaster combined across the United States, including California wildfires, tornados, and earthquakes. In the Horry and Georgetown areas, the American Red Cross responds to a home fire approximately three times per week. Volunteers provide care and support for the family now standing on the sidewalk.
“We want to make sure they have a safe place to stay, a warm blanket, and financial assistance to cover their immediate needs, to bridge the gap to the next day,” says Amy Brauner, the executive director for the American Red Cross southeast division. “It could be as simple as a toothbrush or a pair of socks.”
Several months ago, an apartment fire in Barefoot Landing, North Myrtle Beach, spread throughout the attic of 18 units, destroying most. 11 adults and one child were affected. Red Cross volunteer Roger Keally was one of the first volunteer responders. He was at home when he heard fire engines, and ran the two blocks to the scene to offer assistance, beating the second fire engine there.
The Red Cross wants to assist our community in staying safe this winter. In addition to responding to home fires when they happen, they also work to help prevent them.
In October 2914, they implemented the Home Fire Campaign, in which volunteers conduct a home visit to check smoke alarms. If they are not working properly, they will replace them free of charge. They help you build an evacuation plan to escape your home in two minutes, the time it takes for your house to burn down, so that no matter where you are in your house, the second floor, up higher, or in the back, you know how to escape. They also provide home fire safety checks, assessing what in your home is a potential fire hazard and how to fix it, as well as a checklist on how to stay safe.
“We call home fires the everyday disaster because it can happen to anyone anytime,” says Amy.
In the past year, a total of 184 homes in Horry and Georgetown counties were made safer; 318 smoke alarms were installed; 176 escape plans were made; and 514 people were served.
Since the inception of the Home Fire Campaign through September of 2018, the Red Cross and their volunteers have been directly responsible for saving 54 lives in South Carolina— 7 in Horry and Georgetown counties. (The statistic comes from verifying that the Red Cross installed the fire alarm or built an evacuation plan and the family escaped safely afterwards.)
To learn more about their program, and request a Red Cross home safety inspection visit: www.soundthealarm.org.
Join Us at Our January Events:
CPR/AED/First Aid at 3531 Pampas Drive – Myrtle Beach
- January 12: 1:30pm – Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED
- January 19: 900am – Adult First Aid/CPR/AED
- January 26: 9:00am Adult CPR/AED
- January 30 – Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED – 1:30pm
- January 10 – Trinity United Methodist Church – North Myrtle Beach – 9:00am – 2:00pm
- January 13 – St Andrews Catholic Church – Myrtle Beach – 8:30am – 1:30pm
- January 17 – WBTW Blood Drive – Coastal Grand Mall – 11:00am – 7:00pm
- January 19 – Palmetto Point Church of God – Myrtle Beach – 9:00am- 2:00pm
- January 23 – Coastal Carolina University- 10:00am – 4:00pm
Become a Volunteer:
- Register now at RedCross.org/sc