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Hurricane Irma – Red Cross Provides Safe Refuge, Mobilizes Supplies


The Red Cross has mobilized its second massive hurricane response in two weeks to help people affected by Hurricane Irma. Relief efforts stretch from the U.S. Virgin Islands through Florida to the mid-Atlantic region.

Red Cross Societies from around the world are responding on Caribbean islands where the storm left behind catastrophic devastation, starting what could become a complex, multi-country relief and recovery effort.

Hurricane Irma is expected to reach the Florida Keys Sunday morning and be near the southwest coast of Florida Sunday afternoon. The extremely powerful storm is bringing the threat of extreme winds, torrential rains and dangerous storm surges. The storm’s threat extends up the East Coast and miles inland. Parts of Georgia and South Carolina could see storm conditions Sunday into Monday. The Red Cross in Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Maryland are monitoring the storm and preparing to respond if necessary. The Red Cross is also working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners in multiple states to coordinate response efforts.

Safe Refuge/Evacuation Centers

In Florida, as of now more than 5.6 million people have been asked to evacuate, the governor is warning that evacuation orders could increase, and that everyone in the state should be prepared to leave. The Red Cross is working around the clock alongside our government and community partners to open evacuation centers to provide people safe refuge from Hurricane Irma.

Evacuation centers are intended to provide immediate protection and save the lives of those in the path of this catastrophic and deadly storm.

Evacuation centers will likely not have cots and blankets. Light snacks and water will be available in most situations. Therefore, anyone coming to a hurricane evacuation center should bring their emergency supplies kit with a minimum 3-day supply for each person of the following items

  • evacuation center should bring their emergency supplies kit with a minimum 3-day supply for each person of the following items
  • Water: one gallon per person, per day
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items
  • Bedding: pillows and blankets
  • Medications, medical items and supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Please note that residents and pets will not be turned away from evacuation centers once tropical storm force winds begin. Anyone bringing a pet or service animal to an evacuation center should also bring enough water, food and other supplies (collar, leash, ID, carrier, bowl) for the animal.
  • Find evacuation centers by visiting or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

    If you need to find a shelter, you can also visit centers, check with your local officials on where to find a shelter, download the FEMA app or text SHELTER and your zip code to 4FEMA (43362). Monitoring your local media may also help.

    Red Cross Mobilizes

  • More than 1,000 Red Cross disaster workers are in Florida now, with hundreds more on the way.
  • Friday night, an estimated 48,000 people spent the night in 249 Red Cross and government evacuation centers across Florida. More evacuation centers will be opening today and throughout the weekend.
  • In Georgia, 13 evacuation centers were open overnight where 1,185 people spent the night. And more evacuation centers are either open or poised to open in Tennessee, South Carolina and Virginia.
  • Trailers of shelter supplies with enough cots and blankets for 120,000 people are on the way to help those impacted by Irma.
  • The Red Cross has pre-positioned additional blood products and stocked many hospital partners to capacity in areas of the Southeast likely to be impacted by the storm over the upcoming days. The Red Cross is also prepared to send more blood products as needed to ensure patient needs continue to be met. Ahead of the storm, Red Cross employees are also preparing facilities and equipment in case of power outages by ensuring back-up generators are working properly and vehicles are fueled. Through its national inventory system, the Red Cross has the ability to move blood around the country to wherever and whenever it is needed most.
  • How to Help

    The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Irma by visiting, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word IRMA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.

    ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and The Wawa Foundation.

    ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; International Paper; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; McDonald’s Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Sunoco; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; and Wells Fargo.

    Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; Alcoa; Alliance Data; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BMW of North America; BNY Mellon; CarMax; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; IHG Foundation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; New Balance Foundation; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Standard Textile; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.

    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 or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.