March is Red Cross Month and the American Red Cross plans to recognize New Jersey's everyday heroes who bring help and hope to those in need.

Events honoring outstanding volunteers and those celebrating milestone years of service are being held this month across the Garden State.

"We have volunteer recognition events in all the different six chapters throughout the state, where we will be honoring those volunteers that go above and beyond," American Red Cross New Jersey Region spokeswoman Diane Concannon said.

The nonprofit is grateful for the support from volunteers, blood donors and supporters, she said.

Concannon says The American Red Cross is known for responding to disasters of all kinds, which include mostly house fires.

RED CROSS: 2016 in NJ

— Responded to more than 760 house fires

— Financial assistance to more than 1,800 families

— Provided 3,500 military family case services

— Trained more than 116,000 people with lifesaving skills

— Installed 7,900 free smoke alarms

— Collected 89,100 units of blood through blood drives and Red Cross Donation Centers.

Concannon says their volunteers are extremely dedicated to helping families in need -—especially home fire victims.

Volunteers arrive on the scene, meet with the families, "and make sure they have a place to stay. They'll take care of providing, what we call, emergency assistance, which is financial assistance for temporary lodging if needed, food, clothing."

The American Red Cross of New Jersey is also taking part in the national Home Fire Campaign, where volunteers go into high fire-risk areas and work with community partners, fire departments and other groups. They are taking part in home canvassing events where they "go into neighborhoods and we offer and install free smoke alarms." Volunteers help families create a fire escape plan.

She says you have less than two minutes to get out of your house during a fire. So when the fire alarm goes off, you have to be ready to move. So the Red Cross provides materials and even educates families on how to do this. Concannon says make sure you check to make sure smoke alarms are working and practice your escape plan with your family.

Blood donations are always accepted, too. In New Jersey there are many blood drives during the month of March to help with cancer patients, hospital patients and even transfusions.

To become one of the 5,300 volunteers for the Red Cross in New Jersey, make a blood donation or to find out about this month's hero events, go to www.redcross.org/nj

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