Radio Iowa recently reported on a startling trend in the first half of the year: people burning their houses down. It was most often by accident, of course, but it has the Iowa-Nebraska chapter of the American Red Cross concerned as it continues into the summer months.

The pandemic boosted the number of hires from an average of 250 to over 300

You remember how brutal last winter seemed here in Iowa. January and February saw the largest rise in house fires in the state. Couple that with more of us staying home and cooking our own meals more often than going out, and working from home, looking for extra heat in the form of space heaters getting used more often. A spokesperson for the Iowa-Nebraska region of the Red Cross, Josh Murray, says these were all contributing factors. Between January 1st and June 30th, the Red Cross responded to 297 incidents in Iowa, with 95-percent of them being home fires, assisting a total of 1,281 individuals.

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The Red Cross provides more than condolences

When you've lost everything due to a fire, the Red Cross is one of the first and best resources you can contact. They will often help you find temporary housing, meals, temporary storage, or even help you refill your prescriptions you may have lost. When the Red Cross comes to your aid, they are there to help until you have what you need. They rely heavily on donations to provide the services they offer, so if you'd like to donate you can learn more here.

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