A record month for fires

The five chapters in the American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region - from the Canadian border to Duchess and Ulster counties - responded to a record number of fires during the month of December 2010, providing assistance to more than 100 people.

In December, volunteers and staff responded 37 fires region-wide. As a result of this rash of fires, the American Red Cross spent 34 percent more on disaster relief this December than in December 2009 and three times the amount as was spent in December 2008. Since the beginning of our fiscal year July 1, disaster expenses are 25 percent higher than last year.

After residential fires, the Red Cross is often the only agency on the scene whose sole responsibility is to take care of fire victims. We provide assistance 24 hours a day 7 days a week. When a disaster strikes, the American Red Cross provides aid to those in need including a warm safe place to sleep, emergency funds for food, clothing and a compassionate shoulder to lean on.

The major causes of residential fires are cooking, heating and smoking. We urge families to have working smoke alarms and to practice evacuation routes in case fires to occur. Be safe.

The Red Cross Corner is a regular column provided by the North Country chapter of the American Red Cross. The chapter may be reached at 561-7280 or via e-mail at nccarc@westelcom.com.

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