Red Cross volunteers on call for Thanksgiving holiday

Crime & Safety

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — First responders and relief organizations are preparing for an increase in house fires as the holiday season approaches.

It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous.

According to the American Red Cross, South Carolina tends to see about a 30% increase in house fires during the colder months, especially around the holiday season.

“While the rest of us are sitting down to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with our loved ones, the Red Cross has volunteers on call and ready to respond whenever disaster strikes,” Mandy McWherter, the communications director for the Red Cross, said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the number of cooking fires on Thanksgiving is three times higher than on any other day.

“Thanksgiving is a really prime time for home fires, unfortunately, because of those cooking accidents,” McWherter said. “That’s why we keep volunteers on call around the clock.”

This year, the Red Cross will have 230 volunteers on call and ready to serve the Eastern South Carolina region, which includes Horry County.

“We’re going to provide some financial assistance to make sure that they have a warm place to stay that night, that they have food or clothes that may need replaced,” she said. “We’re going to help cover those immediate needs.”

While cooking is the leading cause of house fires, space heaters are a close second. Faulty wiring, often involving holiday light displays, is another big concern this time of year.

“Prevention is key,” McWherter said. “So smoke detectors are the No. 1 way to prevent home fires and tragedies from occurring.”

She said the Red Cross is always looking for volunteers to help support those in need, especially this time of year.

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