Most Red Cross disasters last month resulted from fires

Margarita Cambest
  • York Red Cross responded to 29 disasters and helped 77 individuals in October.
  • Most disasters that month were fires.

The Central Pennsylvania region of the American Red Cross helped 493 people recover from fires, floods and storms in October, including 77 people in York County, according to an October community review released this week.

Across four chapters in the 22-county region, 2,505 people were trained in first aid, CPR or the use of an automated external defibrillator. The chapters also collected 3,907 units of blood and provided services to 152 military families.

York County’s office accounted for about one-third of most overall activity.

Firefighters respond to house fires on the 100 block of East Maple Street on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in York City. The York chapter of the Red Cross helped 77 victims of disaster in October, most of them displaced by fires. Amanda J. Cain photo

The Central Pennsylvania region includes chapters for Central Pennsylvania, North Central Pennsylvania, Mid-Central Pennsylvania and South Central Pennsylvania. York County is in the South Central Pennsylvania Chapter, which includes Adams, Franklin, Fulton and York counties.

York County’s American Red Cross office collected the second-most units of blood — 540 — behind 739 collected in Centre County. It also trained the most people in emergency response at 545 and served 30 military families.

Disaster program manager Allen White works in the York office of the nonprofit. Of the 29 disaster cases his office responded to, he said most were fires, and 80 percent happened in the city.

“We usually have increased activity beginning late fall into the colder weather in winter,” White explained.

The culprit?

“Right now we don’t have the information or stats to narrow down the causes, but there’s a variety of issues that causes people to be displaced from their homes due to fire,” he said.

Burning candles, faulty heaters being turned on for the first time this season and bad wiring can all result in people losing their homes to fire, he said.

York-area heroes honored by American Red Cross

“People need to be mindful as they turn on their heat or are burning candles or using extra electrical equipment for holiday decorations,” White said. “They need to make sure they’re not overloading circuits and making sure everything works properly.”

White also said people in rural areas taking part in open burns should make sure the burns are a good distance away from homes.

As for maintenance, White said preventive maintenance on furnaces and heater grids is essential.

“Make sure that they’re working properly and, if not, get them repaired,” he said.

Local Red Cross response, October report by county

Disaster action team cases: Adams, 2; Dauphin, 4; Lancaster, 9; York, 29

Individuals assisted: Adams, 11; Dauphin, 14; Lancaster, 36; York, 77

Peopled trained in first aid, CPR, AED: Adams, 57; Dauphin, 405; Lancaster, 405; York, 545

Services provided to military families: Adams, 8; Dauphin, 47; Lancaster, 24; York 30

Units of blood donated: Adams, 125; Dauphin, 52; Lancaster, 89; York, 540