KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday 11/15/10, 7:30 AM & KTTU "In Focus," Sunday 11/15/10, 10:30 AM

Posted: Updated:
By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews Jennifer M. Tersigni, Chief Development & Public Information Officer, American Red Cross, Southern Arizona Chapter, and Capt. Trish Tracy, Public Information Officer, Tucson Fire Department.

The holidays are generally a time of joy, this is also the time of the year when blood supplies for hospitals can run low. And there’s always the chance of a home being destroyed by flames from a holiday ornament or candle.

Tersigni says Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage. She says there are fire safety tips people should follow. She says these include keeping all sources of fuel (paper, clothing, bedding, and carpets or rugs) at least three feet away from all heat sources when cooking, or using alternative heating like a space heater, don’t leave the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food, and don’t leave home while cooking,and keep matches and lighters away from and out of the reach of children. She says If a fire occurs, get out and stay out.  Call the fire department from a cell phone or neighbor’s home.

Tracy says if there is a fire and smoke or flames block the first escape route, use a second way. She says if someone must exit through smoke, they should crawl low under the smoke to the exit.  If escaping through a closed door, she says feel the door before opening it.  If the door is warm, get out a different way. She says if smoke, heat, or flames block the way out, stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help, says Tracy, using a brightly colored cloth at the window. If there is a telephone in the room, she says call the fire department and tell them the location.

Tersigni says the number of home fires the American Red ross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000. She says Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half. She sayssays If a fire or other disaster strikes, the local American Red Cross Chapter is there to help.