Next 24 Hours Critical for Public to Make Hurricane Preparations

Posted October 27, 2012

Hurricane Sandy is barreling toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The American Red Cross urges residents along the coast and interior regions to make their storm preparations now as heavy rains are forecast to begin in the Northeast Sunday afternoon. Click on the links in this story for details on how to get ready for Sandy.

Weather experts predict this massive weather system could affect as many as 50 million people, with the storm having a significant impact in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Hurricane Sandy will bring heavy rain and flooding, winds gusting up to 75 miles per hour, extended power outages and even snow.

WHAT WE’RE DOING  Some expect the approaching storm to be more powerful than Hurricane Irene, which caused a widespread disaster response operation in 2011. The Red Cross is mobilizing disaster workers and putting relief supplies into place. It also has shelters standing by and more than 100 emergency response vehicles on alert to respond, including vehicles from as far away as Wisconsin.

HELPFUL RED CROSS APPS Download the free Red Cross Hurricane App and First Aid App to have emergency information at your fingertips. The Red Cross also has videos available to help get prepared, including information on severe weather preparedness and how to get ready for winter weather.

PREPARE YOUR FAMILY Government officials and weather experts are urging people to get ready for the storm now. Bring anything inside that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.). Keep up-to-date about the storm’s progress and find out about your community’s disaster response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets.

CHECK DISASTER SUPPLIES Everyone should build or restock their disaster supply kits now. Replace or restock items as needed. These supplies should include:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day
  • Food—non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7-day supply) and medical items

POWER OUTAGES Utility companies are warning customers that the storm could cause power outages lasting several days. Everyone should fill their vehicle’s gas tank and get extra cash now as gas pumps and ATMs won’t work if the power is out. Other steps you can take are:

  • Have coolers on hand and surround your food with ice in the cooler or refrigerator to keep food cold for a longer period of time. Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Use flashlights, not candles.
  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and any appliances, equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out to avoid damaging them when the power is restored.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car as traffic lights will be out and roads congested

USING A GENERATOR If you are planning to use a generator, never use it indoors, including in a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace or other area, even with ventilation. Generators put off carbon monoxide fumes, which can be deadly. Full details are available at the link above.

IF YOU HAVE TO EVACUATE  Several states have already declared a state of emergency and some are calling for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas.Stay informed about the storm’s progress and evacuate if told to do so. If you need to find a shelter, download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check your local television, radio and newspaper.

If coming to a shelter, there are things you should bring with you such as:

  • Prescription medicine
  • Identification and valuable papers
  • Toiletries
  • Change of clothing
  • Water, non-perishable food
  • Blankets, pillows and/or sleeping bags
  • Baby food and diapers

HOW TO HELP To help those who may be affected by this storm and other disasters, you can make a donation by visiting http://www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Red Cross Ready To Help As Isaac Heads Toward Florida

WASHINGTON, Thursday, August 23, 2012 — Tropical Storm Isaac could make landfall in Florida in the next few days and the American Red Cross is getting ready to respond if needed.

The Red Cross is preparing to open dozens of shelters across Florida, and moving hundreds of trained disaster workers into the state. There are 22 Red Cross emergency response vehicles already in Florida and 28 more are moving into the state in advance of the storm with an additional 78 on stand-by if needed. The Red Cross is mobilizing five truckloads of disaster supplies to send to Florida and Red Cross disaster warehouses in Georgia and Mississippi are ready to ship emergency supplies if necessary.

 “As Isaac travels northward, we’re getting ready to help people in Florida,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president for Red Cross Disaster Services. “We urge folks who may be in the path of this storm to get prepared too – to check their emergency supplies, finalize their hurricane plans, and listen closely to local officials for updates on the storm.”

RED CROSS HURRICANE APP One step people should take now is to download the free Red Cross Hurricane App for mobile devices which puts real time information on hurricane safety at someone’s fingertips. The app features information on Red Cross shelters and a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone use social media outlets to tell family and friends they are okay. People across the country planning to travel to areas that could get hit with the storm can use the app to receive weather alerts. The Hurricane App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

GET READY Before the storm, people should prepare by taking the following steps:

  • Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If someone does not have hurricane shutters, they should close and board up their windows and doors with plywood.
  • Fill their vehicle’s gas tank.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind, like outdoor furniture.
  • Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep closed as much as possible so food will last longer if the power goes out.

More information on what to do before, during and after a storm is available on the Red Cross web site.

 MEANWHILE IN HAITI, Red Cross workers from all over the world are closely coordinating preparedness efforts and plans to respond as Isaac approaches Hispaniola. Logistical support and cholera contingency plans have been activated for the north and northeast regions of Haiti, including positioning of relief and cholera prevention supplies. The Red Cross is supporting and equipping 55 community readiness committees in camps in Port au Prince with additional first aid supplies, having worked with these committees on an ongoing basis to identify evacuation routes and alternate safe spaces. The Haitian government is in charge of evacuation shelters in Haiti. The Red Cross works with the community to help them get ready for disasters and will respond to any needs Isaac creates.

HOW TO HELP If anyone would like to help, they can make a donation by visiting http://www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC20013.

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.