Cold Weather Keeps Red Cross Volunteers Busy
by Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The colder than normal temperatures across Middle Tennessee are resulting in an especially busy start to the year for American Red Cross volunteers.
Already in 2014, the Red Cross has responded to 17 house fires, and helped 68 clients. This is up from 8 fires and 28 clients during the same period in 2013.
Volunteers with the Disaster Action Team said they expect to stay busy this time of year, and are prepared.
"We have standby teams ready to go, and we make sure all volunteers are ready for late nights and early mornings," said David Buchanan, who has been volunteering with the Red Cross since 2010.
Buchanan said regardless of the temperature, the Red Cross aims to comfort homeowners during a difficult time.
"When we arrive on scene, the first thing we do is go find the client and make sure they are safe," said Buchanan. "We want to make sure they have a safe place to go, are fed and have clothing."
Buchanan said as long as the cold weather sticks around, he expects to stay busy.
"We know this is coming every year," said Buchanan. "We keep our vehicles stocked and ready to go."
To help prevent house fires, the Red Cross recommends you keep items that can catch fire at least three feet away from fireplaces, stoves and space heaters. Also, turn off portable heaters and extinguish candles when you leave the room or go to sleep. Plus, you need to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and test them each month.
Due to the high volume of fires, and families in need, officials with the Red Cross say they are especially in need of donations and volunteers this time of year. To help, you can visit their website at www.redcross.org, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.