It is fire season! Not a holiday to celebrate, no costumes, no special food, but a time of year during which we, at the American Red Cross, begin to see a serious uptick in the number of house fires to which our volunteers respond.
This year has gotten off to a roaring start with response to 14 Central Pennsylvania home fires in the last week of October; our volunteers have been caring for 69 people from 21 families. As we turn on our furnaces and light candles, start glowing fires in the hearth and pulling out space heaters, we need to be aware that there are safety concerns surrounding each of those acts.
Please, call your fuel provider and have them check your furnace, have a professional look at your chimney and use only approved space heaters following manufacturer's instructions to the letter.
Our volunteers are busy providing food, clothing, temporary shelter, and referral services to those affected by house fires. The devastation caused by a fire is long lasting and far-reaching, losing your home and all your belongings takes years from which to recover. I urge you to take steps to reduce your vulnerability to the possibility of this life changing tragedy.
Fire safety begins with taking a good look at what you are doing to stay safe. Every October the local volunteer fire departments and service agencies run a month-long campaign to discuss home fire safety and prevention, but every year at the same time we continue to see more house fires erupt. The American Red Cross volunteers serving the SUN area would like a quieter season for all our sakes. But they will respond 24/7 to meet the needs of those who suffer a house fire. Let's all do our part to lessen their load.
Rick Wible, Board Chair, SUN Area Chapter, American Red Cross