Number of people impacted by local disasters more than doubles in New Year

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The New Year has brought along with it a significant increase in the number of people needing help from the American Red Cross after local disasters, such as home fires.

From January 1st to the morning of January 5th, volunteers with the Palmetto SC Region of the Red Cross have provided financial assistance to 245 people. Comparatively, volunteers helped 119 people during the same time period in 2017. So far this year, 76 families have been displaced by local disasters compared to 42 families last year.

Volunteers have responded to 61 incidents as of Friday morning. During that same time last year, volunteers responded to 26 incidents. That’s a 135-percent increase.

The vast majority of these calls (95-percent) have been to single or multi-family home fires.

“This has been an unprecedented beginning to 2018,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO. “We are urging everyone to heed the warnings of the Red Cross and local fire departments to please heat your homes safely.”

If using a space heater, remember to keep it three feet away from anything flammable. It’s essential to plug the heater directly into an outlet and purchase a model that turns off if it tips over. The Red Cross asks people to check their smoke alarms regularly to be sure batteries are working. Studies have shown that having working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire by half.


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