Imagine the place you call home, the place you share with your family, the place you grew up, gone. Fires can be one of the most devastating things to happen to a family. It can destroy homes, possessions, memories, and lives. In a matter of minutes, everything that a home holds dear can be burnt away. As you scroll through the pages of this blog you will read the stories of the people whose lives have been altered by destructive fires. The trauma of losing your home is immeasurable; something experienced by too many in the city of Chicago.
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago responds to 1,200 disasters each year, the majority of which are residential fires. The Chicago Red Cross relief team helps assist victims of home fires every day. You cannot rewind back to the moments before a fire, but you can take steps in preventing it. There are simple ways in which you and your family can protect your home from fires and Team Firestopper can help.
Team Firestopper is a volunteer fire safety program that provides fire education and hand-on activities. Each year the program reaches over 10,000 households. This year, on March 29th and 30th, Team Firestopper of Greater Chicago visited 40 homes in the Roseland neighborhood on the south side of the city to distribute free fire prevention kits that included smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and surge protectors. Over the two days, 50 volunteers educated homeowners about fire safety and preparedness.
The team works to prevent home fires in neighborhoods with a high number of residential fires. “Unfortunately, Roseland has a significant number of home fires each year,” said Red Cross community programs director Yvette Alexander-Maxie. Last year, the Red Cross relief team responded to 70 incidents in Roseland, making it one of the highest response zones in Chicago.
The two- day home visits in Roseland helped families become better educated and ready for residential fire hazards. During one of the visits, the team went to the home of Tonya Howard, who was already well equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. “I’m a foster parent, so it’s mandatory,” she said. “We have to do an evaluation, and then we have to have a plan, too.” Team Firestopper successfully aided families in the Roseland community to help stop fires before they happen.
Team Firestopper is working hard to prepare Chicago communities so fewer families have to lose their homes to fires. Do not let your family and home be at risk, stay informed and always be prepared. For more information about fire safety and tips visit redcross.org. Team Firestopper needs volunteers to help teach preparedness techniques and canvass neighborhoods with fire prevention information. For volunteer information visit http://www.redcross.org or call (312) 729-6265.
Written by: Alyssa Barford