Your Top Three Disaster Related Questions Answered

question-markIn times of disaster people have many questions on what is the best way to help.  Here are the answers to the top three questions we are receiving regarding the tornadoes in Oklahoma.

If you have additional questions, please let us know by calling 920-468-8535.  

Q: How can I volunteer and help the tornado victims?

A: We appreciate the offers to volunteer, but right now we have enough trained disaster workers in Oklahoma to help. Please consider, contacting your local Red Cross chapter to get trained so that you might be able to help in the future. Please visit www.redcross.org/support/volunteer/disaster-volunteer for more information.

Q: Why won’t the Red Cross take small quantities of donated goods?

A:  After a disaster, financial donations are the quickest and best way to get help to the people who need it most. The Red Cross isn’t equipped to handle a large influx of donations like household items, clothing or food that may or may not be useful to victims. It takes time and money to sort, process, transport and then distribute donated items—whereas financial donations can be accessed quickly and put to use right away. Plus, financial donations allow us to be flexible in the help that we provide and ensure we can provide what people need most. As an added benefit, financial donations allow the Red Cross and disaster victims to purchase items locally, stimulating the economy of the disaster-affected area.

Even a small financial donation can go further than you might think. For instance, $2 can provide a snack to a child who just lost his or her home, and $10 can provide a hot meal to that same child. You can help people affected by disasters by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Q: Does the Red Cross need blood donations?

A: The Red Cross stands ready to help meet the blood needs of patients in and around Oklahoma City if needed. There is currently enough blood on the shelves to meet patient demands. However, those with type O negative blood are encouraged to give blood when they are able. The role of Red Cross Blood Services in this response is as a secondary supplier of blood products to area hospitals.

All eligible blood donors can schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting redcrossblood.org. With many people scheduling appointments to give blood, redcrossblood.org may run slower and wait times on 1-800-RED CROSS may be longer than usual. No Red Cross facilities were affected by the storms, but some blood drives may be canceled as recovery and clean-up begins. To find out if a blood drive has been canceled or to reschedule an appointment to give blood or platelets, call 1-800-RED CROSS.

Red Cross Helping Oklahoma Tornado Victims With Shelter, Food, Relief Supplies

The American Red Cross is working around the clock to help people in Oklahoma after Monday’s devastating tornadoes with shelters, food, water and supplies, and more workers, supplies and equipment are moving into the area today.

“Our thoughts and sympathy are with all those impacted by these horrific tornadoes,” said Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. “Specialized Red Cross disaster teams are helping now and will be helping for weeks to come as people in Oklahoma recover from these storms.”
from twitter account of: @redcrossokc - Red Cross Oklahoma

from twitter account of: @redcrossokc – Red Cross Oklahoma

The Red Cross deployed almost 30 emergency response vehicles to distribute food and relief supplies and more are on alert. Two Southern Baptist Convention kitchens and kitchen support trailers will join the relief effort with the ability to serve tens of thousands of meals a day. Emergency aid stations will open where people can get food and snacks, mental health and health services and information about what help is available. The Red Cross is supporting first responders and working with local and state officials to make sure people get the help they need. Meanwhile, the Red Cross continues to provide shelter in Shawnee and other parts of the Oklahoma City area following storms over the weekend.

SAFE AND WELLThe Red Cross has several ways people can let loved ones know they are safe. They can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website by visiting www.redcross.org and clicking on the “List Yourself or Search Registrants” link under “How to Get Help”. Those who can’t access a computer can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and a Red Cross operator can help them register. Disaster victims can also update their Facebook and Twitter status through the Safe and Well website or visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell on their smart phone and clickon the “List Yourself as Safe and Well” or “Search for friends and family” link.

DOWNLOAD TORNADO APP. If someone has the Red Cross tornado app on their mobile device, they can use the “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know they are okay. The app can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Androidby searching for American Red Cross. It includes a high-pitched siren and tornado warning alert that signals when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued, as well as also an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled. Content is preloaded so users have access to critical information even without mobile connectivity, including locations of open Red Cross shelters and the one-touch “I’m Safe” messaging to let loved ones know they are okay through social media outlets. More than a million alerts were sent from the Red Cross tornado app with 340 separate tornado warning/watch notices on Sunday and Monday as tornadoes hit in Oklahoma and other states.

HOW TO HELPThose who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations help provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.

BLOOD SUPPLIESThe Red Cross stands ready to help meet the blood needs of patients in and around Oklahoma City if needed, and there is currently enough blood on the shelves to meet patient demands. The Red Cross is a secondary supplier of blood products to hospitals in the affected area in Oklahoma. People with type O negative blood are encouraged to give blood when they are able. All eligible blood donors can schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting www.redcrossblood.org to help ensure blood is available when people need it.

CORPORATIONS HELP The Red Cross is able to respond quickly when emergencies like this happen with the help of corporations who are members of the organization’s Annual Disaster Giving (ADGP) and Disaster Responder programs. Program members pledge donations on an ongoing basis to allow the Red Cross to pre-position supplies and be ready to take immediate action when disasters occur.

Current ADGP members are:

3M; Altria Group; Aon; AT&T; Bank of America; BNY Mellon; Briggs & Stratton Corporation; Caterpillar Inc.; CHS Foundation; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; The Clorox Company; Community Safety Foundation funded by AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah Insurance Exchange; ConAgra Foods Foundation; Costco Wholesale Corporation; Darden Restaurants, Inc.; Dell Inc.; Discover; Disney; Dr Pepper Snapple Group; Edison International; FedEx Corporation; GE Foundation; Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation; The Home Depot Foundation; Humble Bundle; jcpenney; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; Kraft Foods Group; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; Medtronic; Meijer; Merck Co. Foundation; Mondelēz International; National Grid; Nationwide Insurance Foundation; Northrop Grumman; Optum; PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation; Southwest Airlines; Sprint; State Farm; State Street; Target; Texas Instruments; The TJX Companies, Inc.; UnitedHealthcare; University of Phoenix; UPS; US Airways; Walmart; WellPoint Foundation; Wells Fargo.

Disaster Responder members include:

American Express; AstraZeneca; AXA Foundation; Delta Air Lines; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; General Motors Foundation; H&R Block; Ingersoll Rand; Morgan Stanley; New Balance Foundation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; PuroClean; Ryder Charitable Foundation; Starbucks Coffee Company and Starbucks Foundation; Sunoco; Tyson Foods, Inc.; U.S. Bank; Western Union Foundation.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 visitredcross.orgor visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Red Cross Helping Tornado Victims Across the Midwest

Our thoughts and concerns go to everyone in Oklahoma following this horrific tornado.

The American Red Cross has one shelter open in Moore and is working on locating others; we continue to operate three shelters that were opened Sunday in the Oklahoma City area following the storms on Sunday.

Red Cross volunteers are out tonight with food and supplies supporting first responders.

More than 25 emergency response vehicles are positioned to move at first light Tuesday, and we expect that the number will increase. The Red Cross is also sending in kitchen support trailers to support the upcoming operation to provide meals to those forced out of their homes.

People in Oklahoma near the tornado area are encouraged to connect with one another and let loved ones know that they are safe. This can be done through the I’m Safe feature of the free Red Cross tornado app. In addition, if you have access to a computer, go to redcross.org/safeandwell to list yourself as safe. If not, you can text loved ones or call a family member and ask them to register you on the site.

This has been a major disaster, and the Red Cross will be there for the people in this state and this community. People who wish to make a donation to support the Red Cross response can visit redcross.org, dial 1-800-REDCROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Picking Up Pieces after Midwest Tornado Outbreak

The American Red Cross continues to help people across the Midwest after the weekend’s devastating tornadoes.

In Oklahoma alone, the Red Cross estimates that more than 600 homes were affected by this weekend’s tornadoes, including 87 homes that were destroyed and 49 sustaining major damage. Another area hit hard is Thurman, Iowa, where FEMA reports 75 percent of the town sustained damage.

Red Cross disaster teams are operating shelters, providing meals and distributing relief supplies throughout the affected communities. The Red Cross is also moving additional relief supplies into the tornado-stricken areas, including comfort kits, tarps, coolers, rakes and other cleanup supplies.

VOLUNTEERS LEAD DISASTER RESPONSE

Many of the Red Cross responders are volunteers. It was a busy weekend in Iowa as they helped in communities hit by the tornadoes, and also responded to large fires and other severe weather. The weekend began with volunteers helping people affected by a large apartment building fire in Des Moines. Tornadoes slammed into the Thurman and Creston areas Saturday. By Sunday morning, volunteers were on the scene supporting firefighters responding to a multiple business fire in Titonka.

After the tornadoes struck in Thurman and Creston, volunteers opened two shelters, activated three mobile feeding trucks, and began damage assessment. Red Cross volunteers served more than 1,650 meals and snacks Sunday and provided emotional support for clients.

Red Cross volunteers also responded to severe weather damage in Sioux City, Des Moines, Knoxville, Council Bluffs and Keokuk County. Most of the cases reported were wind and tree damage to homes. In Titonka, volunteers served 250 meals to firefighters battling a multi-business fire. 

“There were a significant number of disaster-related incidents this weekend which affected many people’s lives here in Iowa,” said Leslie Schaffer, Red Cross spokesperson. “Our volunteers have really worked tirelessly to make sure people had a safe place to stay, food to eat and help getting their lives back on track. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the storms and fires this weekend, not only here but across the country.”

SAFETY STEPS

The Red Cross reminds people who live in the tornado-damaged areas that they should stay out of damaged buildings. Other safety steps include:

  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes when examining homes for damage.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Use battery-­powered flashlights when examining buildings—do NOT use candles.
  • If someone notices a gas smell or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly. They should also call the gas company or fire department.
  • Keep animals under control.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.

HOW TO HELP

People can help those affected by disasters like these tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Consider making a donation today by visiting 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 someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Contributions enable the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters.

About the American Red Cross:
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 join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Red Cross Launches Huge Tornado Relief Response

Shelters open in 11 states to help people in the path of the storms

The American Red Crosshas launched a large relief operation across 11 states to help people affected by yesterday’s devastating tornado outbreak in the South and Midwest. Weather experts reported as many as 95 confirmed tornadoes touched down, destroying communities from the Great Lakes to the Southeast.

Harrisburg, IL resident, Cindy Fark, receives a hug from a Red Cross Disaster volunteer, Ann Corbin after describing the tornado coming through her neighborhood. Photo Credit: Tammie Pech/American Red Cross

“Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by this week’s severe storms,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Disaster Services. “Our top priorities right now are making sure people have a safe place to stay, a warm meal and a shoulder to lean on as they begin to clean up their neighborhoods. The Red Cross is also working closely with our government and community partners to make sure everyone gets the help they need.”Friday night, the Red Cross opened or supported 22 shelters in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Across the affected states, trained Red Cross disaster workers are mobilizing to begin feeding operations and distribution of relief supplies. Red Cross health services and mental health workers also will be out in neighborhoods help people cope with what they’ve seen and experienced. And damage assessment teams will also help the Red Cross and our partners discover the full scope of the damage.

If someone would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes and floods, they can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief 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, DC 20013.

Locate a shelter. People can find Red Cross shelters by contacting local emergency officials, visiting www.redcross.org, or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). iPhone users can download a free Red Cross shelter view app from the app store.

Those affected can let loved ones know they are safe by registering on the secure Red Cross Safe and Well website, where they can also update their Facebook and Twitter status. If you don’t have computer access, you can also register by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Loved ones outside the disaster area can use Safe and Well to find information about loved ones in the affected areas by using a pre-disaster phone number or complete address. Smart phone users can visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell and click on the “List Yourself as Safe and Well” or “Search for friends and family” link.

Follow safety steps. As people begin to deal with the aftermath of the tornadoes, the Red Cross reminds people they should return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should also:

  • Stay out of damaged buildings and immediately report any fallen power lines or broken gas lines to the utility companies.
  • Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings. If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department.

More tornado safety information is available on the Preparedness Section of the Red Cross website.

You can help people affected by disasters like floods and tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit http://www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Red Cross Responds After Tornadoes, Wildfires Leave Devastation Across The South

Editorial note: Call (202) 303-5551 to speak with an American Red Cross spokesperson on the groundVisit the Red Cross Disaster Online Newsroom for response information, including photos, audio, and press releases.

Residents wait to receive meals from an Emergency Response Vehicle in Raleigh, NC.

 WASHINGTON, April 18, 2011 – The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide relief to people affected by the deadly tornadoes and scorching wildfires that left a path of destruction in six states across the south over the weekend.

Strong tornadoes ripped homes off their foundations, destroyed businesses and schools, overturned cars and buses, uprooted trees and downed power lines in Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. In North Carolina alone, preliminary disaster assessments show almost 500 homes destroyed and more than 1,000 damaged. Some of the hardest hit areas are still inaccessible, and officials say that many more than 1,000 families will be homeless in the state.

Red Cross workers sheltered more than 500 people over the weekend, served meals throughout the affected neighborhoods, and provided personal hygiene items and supplies to help as the clean-up begins. With government officials reporting more than 40 deaths from the tornadoes, Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath. Red Cross chapters throughout the south are deploying trained disaster teams into the area and more than 25 Red Cross emergency response vehicles are in hard-hitNorth Carolina, or on their way to the state.

Red Cross workers make their way through devastated neighborhoods throughout West Texas. Photo Credit: Phil Beckman/American Red Cross

In Texas, wildfires have spread across more than 700,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing people to leave their neighborhoods. Red Cross disaster workers have opened shelters and are feeding those displaced by the fires. As families return to their neighborhoods, Red Cross teams are providing them with food and water. The Red Cross is also assisting those who have lost their homes to the fires, providing them with food, clothing and other necessities.

“Families have lost everything, and we are doing what we can to help them as they figure out what’s next,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “We’ll continue to help them in the weeks ahead as they try to get back on their feet.”

Since the end of March, the Red Cross has offered relief to people affected by 35 disasters in 20 states. The Red Cross is able to respond quickly with the help of corporations who are members of the organization’s Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). ADGP members pledge donations on an ongoing basis to allow the Red Cross to pre-position supplies and be ready to take immediate action when disasters occur.

ADGP members include 3M, Altria, Aon, Cisco Foundation, ConAgra Foods, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kraft Foods, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation,  Northrop Grumman, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target,  The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, UPS and Walmart.

 The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help people affected by disasters like these tornadoes and wildfires. You can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit http://www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American 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.

Fast Facts: Spring Storms Response

The following information shows our total service delivery across Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Oklahoma since the beginning of the severe weather events in April:

  • Shelters opened: 63
  • Shelter Overnight Stays: 9,608
  • Clean up kits:  23,715
  • Comfort kits: 12,344
  • Meals served: 189,867
  • Snacks served: 254,754
  • Emergency Response Vehicles on the ground: 113
  • Mental Health Consultations: 10,488
  • Health Services Consultations: 8,351
  • 1-866-GET-INFO calls: 5,253
  • Total Red Cross Workers: 4,674 (4,287 volunteers)

Stats as of May 27, 2010