Local Red Cross offers tips on how to find a shelter

Eastern MA - Chapter News 22

ALBANY, NY (Oct. 28, 2012) - Hurricane Sandy has the potential to be a big and dangerous storm, which should be taken seriously. The American Red Cross Northeastern New York Region (ARCNENY) encourages people to listen to local officials, evacuate if told to do so, and be ready to stay in a safe place during the storm.

ARCNENY is actively planning for its storm response. Today a regional disaster operations center was opened to coordinate and mobilize Red Cross workers and resources. Currently, there are more than 50 volunteers from the ARCNENY Region, some who deployed from other states like California, Georgia and Illinois, as well as members of the local Civil Air Patrol and Americorps, assisting with staffing needs. More deployed volunteers are expected to arrive in the region during the next several days, depending upon weather and safe traveling conditions.

The Red Cross preparedness and response effort involves mobilizing and moving an army of disaster trained volunteers with specialties in Damage Assessment, Mass Care (shelter/feeding), Bulk Distribution, Client Casework, Government Relations, Partner Services, Public Affairs, Logistics, Mental Health, Health Services and more.

ARCNENY has identified shelter sites throughout its 17-county region which are currently on stand-by and are scheduled to be fully staffed and open - if requested to do by various county/state offices of emergency management. A list of shelter locations and opening times will be released, as soon as details are confirmed.

In the event that someone needs to locate an open shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit www.redcross.org , call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check local media outlets for detailed and up to date information.

People should also register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies. To register, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). This site also connects with the Twitter and Facebook accounts of users.

The Red Cross encourages those who plan to stay in a Red Cross evacuation shelter to bring the following items for each member of their family:

  • prescription and emergency medication
  • extra clothing
  • pillows
  • blankets
  • hygiene supplies
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • small board games
  • books for entertainment
  • specialty snacks and juices for those with dietary restrictions
  • basic snacks
  • baby food and formula
  • diapers
  • beach chair or camp chair
  • identification - including license and FPL or other utility bill
  • insurance papers
  • other comfort items
  • Additionally, special items for children and infants, such as diapers, formulas and toys, should be brought, along with other items for family members who are elderly or disabled.

    People may not bring illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages, any weapons or pets into the shelter. For information on Pet Shelters contact 211.

    Not all shelters open at the same time, to find the shelter closest to you that is, open please download the Red Cross Hurricane App or visit http://www.redcross.org/nss.

    Today is the last chance people will have to prepare for Sandy's strong winds, heavy rain, flooding, extended power outages and even snow in some higher elevations. If they are not in an area being evacuated, they should be prepared to shelter in their homes for several days.

  • Emergency kits should be checked now. Include a three-day supply of water for each person in the household, food that doesn't require refrigeration, flashlights, a battery-operated radio, extra batteries and a first aid kit. A full list of suggested items is available on redcross.org.
  • People should know their community's emergency response plan, finalize their family plans in case asked to evacuate and remember to make plans for pets.
  • Businesses and schools should make sure warning or alert systems for employees are in order and contact information is up-to-date. More information on being prepared is available at readyrating.org.
  • GET READY: The Red Cross has information on its website about how to get prepared for the storm, including steps for hurricane and power outage emergencies. Videos are also available to help get prepared, including information on severe weather preparedness and how to get ready for winter weather.

    RED CROSS APPS: People should download the free Red Cross Hurricane and First Aid apps for mobile devices to have emergency information at their fingertips. The Hurricane App provides real-time hurricane safety information such as weather alerts and where Red Cross shelters are located. The app also features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm, and the one-touch "I'm Safe" button lets someone use social media sites to tell family and friends they are okay.

    The Hurricane App can be downloaded in Spanish by changing the language setting on someone's smart phone to Spanish before downloading. The First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone's hand. The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

    HOW TO HELP: To help people affected by disasters like this, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, make 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 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, DC 20013.

    PLEASE GIVE BLOOD: The Red Cross is moving shipments of blood products to hospitals along the coast in advance of the storm as patients will still need blood and platelets despite the weather. Sandy could affect the turn-out at Red Cross blood drives. If anyone is eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, they are asked to please schedule a blood donation now.

    To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.