AUGUSTA, Ga. - The number of residential fires for the winter heating season continues to grow in the CSRA. The local American Red Cross has helped out at seven house fires this week alone. Three of which were in Columbia County.

According to the United States Fire Administration, 890 people die in winter home fires each year. A heating source too close to flammable objects is the biggest reason why.
Many also start because of cooking, and electrical issues.

The American Red Cross of Augusta has been working diligently to help families and first responders through recovery in the area. Executive director Susan Everitt says the threat of winter fires is real and they happen more often in the winter months.

“We generally see an uptick in fires in the winter months, a lot of that has to do with electrical. People turning on their heat for the first time. People are using space heaters and sometimes they forget that they’re on so things that are close to them will catch fire. Sometimes there’s faulty wiring that catching fire and then kitchen fires. People will leave something on the stove, walk away and forget about it,” she says.

She advises to check every establishment you enter for working smoke detectors, and to keep extra batteries in your home. That’s the number one way to protect yourself during a home fire, she says, especially while you're sleeping. The organization will come to your home or establishment to check smoke detectors for you or if you don’t have one, they’ll provide it.

The organization is always looking for strong community leaders to donate and volunteer. “We had volunteers that went out on Christmas Eve for a fire. We’re very thankful that we have such giving people that will do that to help out,” Everitt says, “it really can be anytime, day or night.”

To volunteer or donate to the Augusta American Red Cross, click here.