MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — Home fires become more common around the wintertime due to people heating their homes or mishaps with holiday decorations, and the American Red Cross has some tips to prevent that emergency. 

To prevent a fire people, should make sure all heaters are plugged into an outlet and not an extension cord, keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything flammable, keep an eye on anything you are cooking and make sure smoke detectors are working. The Red Cross recommends installing smoke alarms on every level of a house including inside bedrooms and in hallways. They also advise everyone to make a fire escape plan with their family and practice it twice a year.  

If a fire does start in a home, you may have as little as two minutes to escape, according to the Red Cross. Once you are out of the house during a fire, never go back inside for anything or anyone. 

The number one disaster the Red Cross responds to is home fires. They work with fire departments to assist people in need after a fire.  

“We make sure that they have a place to stay, they have food clothing, they have any medicines that they’ve lost, medical needs replaced. We provide them with emotional support, and we work with them to build a plan for how they’re going to move forward,” Jason Keeling of the American Red Cross said.  

 The Red Cross also has tips on how to recover emotionally after a disaster including: 

  • Try to return to as many of your personal and family routines as possible.
  • Get rest and drink plenty of water.  
  • Limit your exposure to the sights and sounds of disaster, especially on television, the radio and in the newspapers.  
  • Focus on the positives.  
  • Recognize your own feelings.  
  • Reach out and accept help from others.  
  • Do something you enjoy. Do something as a family that you have all enjoyed in the past.  
  • Stay connected with your family and/or other support systems.  
  • Realize that sometimes recovery can take time. 

After a disaster, like a home fire destroying all that someone has, the residents begin the process of recovering finically. The Red Cross recommends people make a list of all the damaged items and take pictures and videos. Additionally, they recommend keeping damaged items and not throwing away anything you plan to claim without discussing it with your adjuster first. Then, contact your insurance agent, broker or insurance company as soon as you can to report how, when and where the damage occurred. 

Lastly, the Red Cross recommends keeping receipts for all additional expenses such as lodging, repairs or other supplies after a disaster.  

Anyone in need of assistance after a disaster can call the American Red Cross for assistance at 1-800- REDCROSS.