Severe Weather Causes Increase in Red Cross Responses

January 1 through
January 12, Red Cross has responded to more than 50 disasters, a 117% increase
in responses when compared to the same time period last year. 

American Red Cross responders have remained
vigilant both day and night to help people affected by disasters, including
many caused by severe weather across Oregon and SW Washington. Since January 1,
2017, Red Cross responders have helped more than 130 families at more than 50
disasters from Vancouver to Klamath Falls. That’s a more than 117% increase in
disaster responses when compared to the same time period last year.

In addition to responding to disasters that affect a single family, the local
Red Cross has simultaneously been operating a shelter for more than three dozen
residents affected by an apartment fire on SW Alder in Portland and shelters
for people affected by power outages and extreme cold in Cave Junction and
Enterprise, Oregon. With power restored, the shelters in Cave Junction and
Enterprise have closed, however the shelter for residents of Hotel Alder
remains open at University of Portland. 

Responders throughout the region remain on standby to assist people who have
been impacted by disasters related to the severe weather or otherwise. The Red
Cross has already helped at two separate incidents this morning, including a
roof collapse in Hillsboro that left seven people and pets displaced and an
apartment fire in Gresham that left nine people displaced. In both cases, the
Red Cross provided assistance to people affected to help meet their immediate
basic needs (shelter, food, clothing, health and mental health assistance).

When the weather is cold, the number of home fire incidents tend to rise. Use
caution when heating your home with space heaters, fireplaces and woodstoves.


Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills
Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural
gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or
any partially enclosed area.

Portable Space Heaters
Keep at least three feet of space between a heater and combustibles such as
furniture, curtains, bedding and papers.

Inspect heaters for cracked or damaged cords, broken plugs or loose
connections. Replace before using the space heater. 

Turn heaters off when not in use, before going to bed or when leaving the

Fireplaces and Woodstoves
Have chimney and woodstove flues and vents inspected and cleaned every year.
Check for creosote deposits, soot build-up and physical damage.

Always use a fireplace screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass to
prevent sparks from escaping.

Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable

Store kindling, fire logs and wood at least three feet from any heat source.

Use proper fire starters, such as newspaper, kindling or specially
manufactured starters designed for indoor use. Never use flammable liquid, such
as lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline to start a fire.