Six families, including 12 children and 10 adults, are currently being assisted by the American Red Cross after a three-alarm apartment fire, August 16th, off of Riverside Drive in Austin. Those families are receiving assistance for a safe place to stay, food, and to replace some of the clothes and personal items lost in the fire. During the past 10 days, the American Red Cross has responded to multiple home and wildfires across Central Texas, including the Lometa Ranch Wildfire near Lampasas, where Red Cross workers have been serving lunch, dinner, snacks and cold water to fire fighters and first responders for three days."Home fires affect more American families than any other kind of disaster," said Marty McKellips, CEO, American Red Cross Central Texas Region, "but there are easy steps you can take to make those fires less likely, and to better prepare your family, just in case."Area residents are encouraged to take preventative action now, and to update their preparedness plans by taking steps including:• Make sure smoke alarms are properly installed and working correctly on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Check the batteries once a month, and teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.• Review your family's evacuation plan together, and update it if necessary. Your evacuation plan should include at least two ways to exit your home, and a meeting spot a safe distance from your home for your family to regroup. Practice your evacuation plan twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.• Create a preparedness kit for your family with emergency supplies and important personal items and documents. This kit should have copies of insurance paperwork, prescriptions, leases or deeds, as well as comfort items for children and supplies for pets.• Make fire prevention a priority. Practice safety while cooking indoors or out by keeping flammable materials away from heat; staying in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food; and keeping grills and outdoor fires at least 10 feet from structures, overhangs, trees or shrubs. More preparedness and recovery information is available on our Home Fire and Wildfire pages.Central Texans who wish to make a financial contribution to the American Red Cross Central Texas Region may call 800 or 512-928-4271, send a financial contribution to 2218 Persh-ing Drive, Austin, 78723; or make a secure on-line donation at: www.centex.redcross.org. The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or blog athttp://blog.redcross.org.