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Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 11:34pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — A house fire can be one of the biggest disasters a family can face and during winter, that threat goes up. So El Paso Red Cross volunteers are spending their day off helping people come up with a plan.
Red Cross volunteers will knock on El Pasoans doors all day Monday, both to help families come up with an emergency plan in case of a fire and to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day of Service.
"That is by far the biggest risk that families in America have more people die of home fires than all other disasters combined," said Mark Matthys, Executive Director of the El Paso Chapter of the American Red Cross.
So Red Cross volunteers are spreading out across the Borderland to help families plan for a disaster like a fire.
"We know that if people just take steps to plan for what they would do in the event if a fire, like make sure that their smoke alarm is checked," Matthys said. "We can greatly reduce the damage and potentially the number of deaths from home fires".
Making a plan involves everyone in the house.
"Very little children, if you give them a responsibility," said Harriet Halkyard of the El Paso Chapter of the American Red Cross. "Don't just tell them go stand there. Tell them hold the front gate open for the fireman. He's going to be there. He's going to be doing that and then you'll know where your child is and you don't go back into the house to search for him, when he's safe somewhere else".
Red Cross volunteers say often families make it out safely, but with nothing.
"It's the resources and the knowledge and quite honestly, the hug that we can give them, that they know that there's an organization behind them that can really support them".
The Red Cross will be there for you if you need them, but on Monday they'll be out trying to prepare you so you don'.
Fire Safety Tips:
- Keep an eye on what you fry. Kitchen and grease fires can easily get out of control.
- If you use a space heater, keep flammable items far away
- Avoid overloading circuits
- Clean out dryer lint
- Watch candles
- Have a working smoke detector