Local Disaster Relief Rolling Snapshot – 2022

When the worst happens, we’re there. After disasters, mostly home fires in our region, Red Cross volunteers work with fire departments and other response partners to connect with families and support needs like emergency lodging, financial assistance and emotional support.

We’d like to share our deepest gratitude with our volunteers for their abiding devotion to helping people rebuild their lives after devastating home fires.

January

🔥 Our winter home fire season continued to disrupt lives during this difficult time. In January across the Minnesota & Dakotas Region, our disaster relief volunteers responded to 115+ home fires, helping 560+ people.

February

🔥 Across our three-state region during February, we responded to 90+ home fires and helped 290+ people affected by these fires. Help us change these statistics. Learn what to do before, during and after a fire! Visit redcross.org/mndaks for fire prevention and safety tips! #endhomefires

March

🔥 During March, our Disaster Action Team was as busy as ever helping people affected by the devastation and trauma that a home fire brings. Across our region, comprised of South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota, our relief workers (90% volunteers) responded to nearly 80 home fires and helped 300+ adults and children. Some families were displaced for a short period of time while others needed to find new housing. Many thanks to all for being there for people when they needed you the most.

April

🔥 During April, responding to help people affected by flooding, freezing weather, home fires and even a tornado in Taopi, MN, filled the hands of our disaster services volunteers. Our trained volunteers supported 60+ disasters and helped 225+ people. Their efforts included working with local partners to support shelters in northwest Minnesota and western North Dakota. Thank you to everyone, especially our volunteers, for stepping up to help people when they needed you the most.

May

🔥 Our trained disaster responders (90% volunteers) responded to 70+ home fires and helped 260+ people.

June

🔥 Home fire relief doesn’t take a summer break. Our trained disaster responders (90% volunteers) helped around 100 people affected by nearly 430 home fires.

July

🔥 Home fires continue this summer throughout our three-state region. Our trained disaster responders (90% volunteers) helped more than 260 people affected by nearly 70 home fires. More trained volunteers are needed to serve on local “Disaster Action Teams” who help people affected by disasters. Apply here.

August

Most of us have not lost a home to fire in the middle of the night. Those who have know the uncertainty that such a disaster can bring. In August, our disaster responders helped more than 300 people affected more than 70 disasters, nearly all home fires, in our three-state region. More than 90 percent of our responders are volunteers. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to supporting people during terrible times in their lives.

You Can Help

DONATE – Thanks to donations, our services are free and available for all those in need. Visit here to support our lifesaving work.

VOLUNTEER – The need is constant to help families affected by home fires and other disasters. Click here to become a volunteer.

10 tips to keep home cozy all season long

Image credit: Gemma Correll

Home cooking is cozy.

Kitchen fires are not.

Use the 10 tips below to keep cozy all holiday season long.

1. Avoid wearing loose clothing or sleeves that dangle

2. Never leave frying, grilling or broiling food unattended

3. Check often simmering, baking, roasting or broiling food

4. Use a timer to remember the stove and oven are on

5. Keep kids and pets away from cooking area, especially the stove and oven

6. Place items that can catch fire – like pot holders, oven mitts, and wooden utensils – away from appliances that generate heat

7. Clean cooking surfaces frequently to prevent grease buildup

8. Have, and know how to use, a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen

9. Make sure appliances, especially the stove and oven, are turned off before going to bed or leaving the home

10. Test smoke alarms. Need them? Click here.

Want more tips for emergencies? Click here to find and download free Red Cross First Aid and Pet First aid apps for your mobile devices.

Cheers! 

Smoke alarms are first line of defense to fight fires

By Kathleen Todd for the American Red Cross Minnesota Region

American Red Cross Minnesota Region smoke alarm installation, 2015.

When Suzie Olson of Saint Paul had a recent American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign visit, she had a big surprise.

“None of my smoke alarms actually worked. While I thought I had been on top of changing the batteries, my smoke detectors were so old that the smoke alarm itself was completely nonfunctional,” Olson says.  “I thought I had been so responsible about it.”

Olson took the first step to detecting a fire and now she wants others to take action. And the Red Cross wants to ensure that every household has working smoke alarms.

Please check the alarms in your home to see if they’re working. If not, replace the batteries or the alarms. The Red Cross can help you do this. Our Home Fire Campaign makes it possible for the Red Cross to install free smoke alarms that will help save lives during home fires.

Multi-unit apartment building fire, Robbinsdale, MN, 2016. Photo by Lynette Nyman/American Red Cross

The American Red Cross responds on average 60,000 disasters each year in the United Sates – and the vast majority of these are home fires. Since 2014, the Red Cross, in partnership with fire departments and other local groups, has visited homes and installed over a million free smoke alarms nationwide. Through these efforts, the Red Cross has saved over 250 lives.

In 2016, 43 Minnesotans lost their lives in fires. In 33 percent of the residential casualties, smoke alarms were absent or non-operating.

To request a smoke alarm installation for your home, community members can call 612-871-7676 or visit getasmokealarm.org. Appointments typically take 20-30 minutes.

Minnesota fire statistics provided by Minnesota State Fire Marshal

Every home fire death breaks a heart

HFCv2_763x260This past weekend there were two home fire deaths in Minnesota. One was a woman 25 years old and the other was a girl 5 years old. These sad and tragic deaths bring the number of home fire deaths to 46 this year in Minnesota. And like the people closest to these disasters, we feel our heart break each time we learn of a home fire death, and we especially feel the heart ache when Red Cross volunteers are responding to these disasters, helping the survivors rebuild their lives.

We do not know details about how the most recent home fires started. But we encourage everyone to  practice home fire safety, especially during the busy holiday season. Here are several resources that will get you started:

Icon PreparednessOne thing we’re passionate about is making sure that every household has working smoke alarms. Please check the alarms in your home to see if they’re working. If not, replace the batteries or the alarms. We can help you do this. Our Home Fire Campaign makes it possible for the Red Cross to install free smoke alarms that will help save lives during home fires.

Remember: if a fire starts in your home get out to safety, and then dial 9-1-1 for emergency assistance.

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