Red Cross prepares for massive relief response to weather
Up to 100,000 people may need emergency shelter
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.
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.