Red Cross pre­pares for mas­sive re­lief re­sponse to weather

Up to 100,000 peo­ple may need emer­gency shel­ter

The Star Democrat - - HURRICANE FLORENCE -

BAL­TI­MORE — The Amer­i­can Red Cross is pre­par­ing for a large re­lief ef­fort across mul­ti­ple states as Hur­ri­cane Florence con­tin­ues its march to­ward the East Coast.

The Amer­i­can Red Cross Greater Ch­e­sa­peake Re­gion is work­ing with state and lo­cal of­fi­cials to iden­tify and pre­pare evac­u­a­tion shel­ters across Mary­land, Delaware and Vir­ginia. The Red Cross is pre­par­ing to pro­vide shel­ter for thou­sands of peo­ple un­til they can re­turn home or find other places to stay.

Red Cross dis­as­ter worker teams are be­ing as­sem­bled, trained and stand­ing by. Re­lief sup­plies, feed­ing sta­tions and other equip­ment, like emer­gency re­sponse ve­hi­cles, are be­ing re­stocked and prepo­si­tioned through­out the re­gion.

Of­fi­cials are warn­ing that power, wa­ter, sewer and phone ser­vices could be dis­rupted for an ex­tended time af­ter land­fall. The Red Cross urges

• Build a dis­as­ter kit

• Come up with an emer­gency plan

• Be in­formed about how lo­cal au­thor­i­ties will no­tify you, whether through lo­cal me­dia or NOAA Weather Ra­dio sta­tions or chan­nels. Fol­low the Amer­i­can Red Cross Greater Ch­e­sa­peake Re­gion on Face­book @RCCh­e­sa­peake or on Twit­ter @RedCrossGCR for con­tin­u­ous in­for­ma­tion.

It also is ad­vised to download the free Red Cross Emer­gency App to have real time in­for­ma­tion about the storm. The Emer­gency App is avail­able in app stores by search­ing for the Amer­i­can Red Cross or go­ing to redcross.org/apps.

If you do have to evac­u­ate, make sure to go the Red Cross Safe and Well web­site. It is a free public re­uni­fi­ca­tion tool that al­lows in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions to reg­is­ter and post mes­sages to in­di­cate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones.

Fol­low­ing are safety steps you should take:

• Turn on your TV/ra­dio, check your city/county web­site every 30 min­utes to get the lat­est weather up­dates and emer­gency in­struc­tions

• Do not drive around bar­ri­cade, or through high wa­ter. Re­mem­ber, if you en­counter flooded road­ways, turn around, don’t drown

• Know how you’ll com­mu­ni­cate with fam­ily mem­bers once the storm passes. You can call, text, email or use so­cial me­dia. Re­mem­ber that dur­ing dis­as­ters, text in­stead of calling be­cause phone lines are of­ten over­loaded.

• Any­one who plans to stay in a Red Cross shel­ter should bring pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions, ex­tra cloth­ing, pil­lows, blan­kets, hy­giene sup­plies, other com­fort items and im­por­tant doc­u­ments. Don’t for­get to bring any spe­cial items for chil­dren, such as di­a­pers, for­mula and toys, or for fam­ily mem­bers who have unique needs.

• Fill your car’s gas tank in case an evac­u­a­tion no­tice is is­sued.

• Build an emer­gency kit that con­tains sup­plies for about three days, to in­clude a gal­lon of wa­ter per per­son per day, non-per­ish­able food, a flash­light and ex­tra bat­ter­ies, a first aid kit, med­i­ca­tions and copies of im­por­tant doc­u­ments. Other rec­om­mended items are avail­able at redcross.org/kit. Re­mem­ber items for young chil­dren such as di­a­pers, and fam­ily mem­bers with spe­cial med­i­cal needs.

• Don’t for­get your pets. Bring them in­doors and main­tain di­rect con­trol of them. Pre­pare an emer­gency kit for your pets, in­clud­ing sturdy leashes or pet car­ri­ers, food and wa­ter, bowls, cat lit­ter and pan, and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost. Full de­tails are avail­able on redcross.org.

• Be­fore the storm hits, find a place to store out­side items such as lawn fur­ni­ture, toys, gar­den­ing tools and trash cans to pre­vent them from be­ing moved by high winds and pos­si­bly hurt­ing some­one.

• Pro­tect win­dows with per­ma­nent storm shut­ters or in­vest in one-half inch ma­rine ply­wood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and win­dows.

• Clear loose and clogged rain gut­ters and down­spouts to pre­vent flood­ing and un­nec­es­sary pres­sure on the awnings.

PHOTO BY SER­GIO RO­JAS FOR THE AMER­I­CAN RED CROSS

The Amer­i­can Red Cross Greater Ch­e­sa­peake Re­gion is work­ing with state and lo­cal of­fi­cials to iden­tify and pre­pare evac­u­a­tion shel­ters across Mary­land, Delaware and Vir­ginia.

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