YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – This year the American Red Cross responded to more than 170 large disasters in the United Sates. The price tag for helping out stands at about $30 million.
Some disasters, such as the wild fires in California and historic flooding in South Carolina got wide-spread media coverage. But the Red Cross does most of its work with small-scale disaster relief, such as house fires.
Of the 70,000 disasters it responds to every year, most are fires. American Red Cross CEO Gail J. McGovern said the winter months are especially dangerous.
“Particularly home fires around the winter months we see more cooking accidents. We see people going to great lengths to heat their homes and their space heaters and kerosene heaters,” McGovern said.
The organization is trying to cut back on fire fatalities by 25 percent. In the Mahoning Valley, the Red Cross has been installing free smoke alarms. The goal is to install 1,500 alarms in the area. Most were put in during Make a Difference Day in October.
Volunteers have helped get the smoke alarms to the homes and areas that need them the most.
McGovern says the Red Cross can confirm their smoke alarm efforts have saved 32 people this year.