(WCSC) CHARLESTON SC- Anytime, day or night, the Red Cross Disaster Action Team arrives on scene, with comfort, clothing, and money for a place to stay.
So far, Executive Director Louise Welch says 2009 has been a record year - with 109 people helped in the first few weeks.
Just this month they've helped 33 people in Berkeley County, 36 in Charleston County, 31 in Dorchester County and 9 in Colleton County. Welch says the number of people displaced is so high, because so many people are now sharing one home.
"The grandmother is taking in her children and grandchildren, a lot of people are living in one household because of economic times", Welch said.
As you'd expect this time of year, Welch says some of the main causes of these fires are the use of alternative heat sources like opening an oven to heat a home, or improper use of space heaters. They should always be at least 3 feet away from any fabric, but in confined spaces like a mobile home that can be easier said than done.
While help is free for the families, it costs the Red Cross about $1250 dollars to help an average family of four. Hard for the Red Cross to afford, when donations are low, and the need is so high.
"A lot of people think we are federally or state funded we are not, we depend 100 percent on our community giving donations", Welch said.
It's money that helps the Red Cross help those who need it most.
"What family would you tell 'no', who would you turn away? You couldn't", Welch said.
If you donate to the Red Cross, you can decide exactly where that money goes.