Red Cross offers tips to prevent fire in your home

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The American Red Cross is helping a family whose home on Lucus Street in Sumter was damaged Thursday evening by a fire in the home, according to a news release from the organization.

After Sumter Fire Department extinguished the blaze, the Red Cross began to help two adults in the home through donations of food, clothing, lodging and more. The victims also were given comfort kits with personal hygiene items.

The organization wants to remind local residents that October is Fire Prevention Month, and the release shared several tips to help reduce the chance you could be harmed by a house fire this season.

- Fix or replace frayed extension cords, exposed wires or loose plugs;

- Make sure electrical outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring;

- Ensure extension cords and other wiring is not placed under rugs, attached by nails or placed in high-traffic areas;

- Avoid overloading outlets or extension cords; and

- Store flammable materials in open areas away from sources of heat.

The release also urges families to practice a two-minute fire drill at their homes so you'll know what to do.

Red Cross has plenty of information on its website redcross.org about fire safety and even a "Monster Guard App." Children can learn about being prepared for all types of emergencies with monsters called Maya, Chad and Olivia. Find this app on Google Play or text "MONSTER" to 90999.

The fire department invites community groups to visit the station to see firsthand how firefighters respond to a blaze. They'll also teach you about fire safety and prevention, according to the city's website, sumtersc.gov/education-awareness. To schedule a visit, call (803) 436-2600 and speak with Division Chief Karl Rose. You can also fill out a fire education request for your group at www.sumtersc.gov/fire-education-activity-request.

If you'd like to help people who have been affected by disasters such as home fires, you can make a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. If volunteering is something you think you might be interested in, visit redcross.org to learn more about how you can get involved.