Eight disasters rip through state in one weekend - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Eight disasters rip through state in one weekend, Red Cross offers safety tips

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Eight disasters ripped through the state over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend.

This has put an additional strain on American Red Cross volunteers and resources.

Half of these disasters have happened in the Pioneer Valley, which includes the fatal fire that took the life a UMASS student.

Red Cross representatives told CBS 3 the number of disasters in our area are already well above the number this time last year.

Since the Red Cross considers November through February fire season, they have some tips to keep fires from starting in your home.

"You do need to be careful with your electric cords. We do see a lot of fires around trying to be creative with staying warm. So, with space heaters, you want to make sure that you've got a three-foot buffer around space heaters and that you're not plugging them into an outlet that's already over-taxed ... that you don't run chords under carpeting ... so fires could start that you don't even realize," said Mary Nathan, regional response manager of Central and Western Massachusetts.

The American Red Cross encourages residents to follow certain safety tips to keep you and your family safe this winter.

Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.

  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire - like pot holders, towels, plastic and clothing - away from the stove.
  • Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
  • Remember that lit candles are fire. Keep them at least 12 inches from anything that can burn, such as curtains, bedding, mattresses, paper, books, flammable decorations, clothing, and upholstered furniture.
  • Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed. Do not leave a room before blowing out all candles.

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