PHOENIX (Oct. 29, 2012) – The American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter is preparing to deploy Arizona disaster relief volunteers in response to Hurricane Sandy. The massive storm barreling toward the East Coast has prompted thousands of people across nine states to take refuge, and the Red Cross is already providing food, nursing assistance and emotional support in more than 112 shelters.
More than 3,200 people spent Sunday night in Red Cross shelters, in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Virginia. The number of people going to shelters is expected to grow while the storm comes ashore, with the center of Sandy forecast to make landfall Monday night along or just south of the southern New Jersey coast, according to the National Hurricane Center. The Red Cross has deployed 1,300-plus disaster workers – none yet from the 10 counties that are covered by the Grand Canyon Chapter – to relieve those impacted by the storm. Plus, the Red Cross has as many as 160 emergency response vehicles on standby, and more than 230,000 ready-to-eat meals and snacks have been sent to the area.
“Sandy is a large and dangerous storm, and it will affect large parts of the eastern part of the country for the next few days,” Red Cross Senior Vice President of Disaster Services Charley Shimanski said.
Bill Epps, regional CEO for the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Red Cross in Phoenix, said “the Red Cross always needs volunteers to help us deliver services to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy, as well as home fires here at home. Go to www.redcross.org to explore the volunteer opportunities and get the volunteer process started. That’s the way to assist in the next disaster. Start your Red Cross volunteer training now.”
Epps pointed out another way Arizonans can assist in the Red Cross Hurricane Sandy efforts: “Donate blood. Nearly 100 Red Cross blood drives have been canceled because of Sandy, resulting in the loss of as many as 3,200 blood and platelet products, and there will be more canceled as the week progresses. If you are eligible to donate blood, please go to www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find a drive near you.”
In addition, financial donations allow the Red Cross to provide services to those whose lives are altered by disasters like Sandy. Donations can be made at www.redcross.org/donate, by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999 for a $10 gift. “This will be a large, costly relief response, and the Red Cross needs help,” Shimanski said.
Red Cross smart phone apps have played a big part in helping people prepare for Sandy. Since Thursday, more than 235,000 people have downloaded the Red Cross hurricane app – it’s free, and it’s available in English in Spanish for iPhones and Androids at www.redcross.org/mobileapps or by searching for “American Red Cross” in the iTunes and Google Play stores. The app gives up-to-date weather alerts; information on Red Cross shelters; a toolkit with a flashlight, a strobe light and an alarm; and a one-touch button that enables downloaders to use social media outlets to let friends and family know they’re OK. People in the path of Sandy are encouraged to list themselves on Red Cross Safe and Well at www.redcross.org/safeandwell, an easy-to-use resource that opens the door for families to connect during emergencies, with Facebook and Twitter linkage an option for registrants.
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. It’s a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Grand Canyon Chapter, established in 1916, re-chartered in 1999 and expanded in 2003, ranks as the fifth-largest chapter nationally, serving the more than 5.1 million people in Apache, Coconino, Gila, La Paz, Maricopa, Mohave, Navajo, Pinal, Yavapai and Yuma counties. For more information on the Grand Canyon Chapter, please visit www.arizonaredcross.org, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/redcrossgcc or follow us on Twitter under the handle @RedCrossGCC.