Help the Red Cross help your neighbors

Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:00 PM

Sometimes it’s nice to be known as a hot spot.

When it’s the Red Cross saying it about Caldwell County, that would mean this is not one of those times.

The Catawba Valley chapter of the American Red Cross says it spends more in Caldwell County helping victims of house fires than it spends in Alexander, Burke and Catawba counties combined. Caldwell doesn’t have more people than those other three counties combined, and driving around the various parts of the region it would hardly seem that houses here are built of more flammable material, so it’s somewhat of a bafflement.

Whatever the reason, it is clear that Caldwell residents need to be sure they are taking some basic steps to prevent fires in fireplaces and wood stoves from spreading into walls and roofs, such as regular chimney cleanings and inspections. Keep fabrics and anything flammable away from space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces. You can find many more fire-prevention tips online from the National Fire Protection Association, www.nfpa.org.

But beyond the safety steps we can take, the Red Cross could also use more help. The agency is the main source of immediate help people receive when they lose a home, so if you keep a list of nonprofits that you donate to each year, consider adding the Red Cross to your list. It’s there for your neighbors, and one day it may be there for you.