The American Red Cross urges residents to make their final preparations now as Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast.
It is important everyone follows evacuation orders and weather alerts as conditions are forecasted to deteriorate throughout the day with high wind and flood warnings already in effect for most of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.
With more than 400 disaster workers mobilized, nearly 100 emergency response vehicles activated and around 200,000 ready-to-eat meals shipped, the Red Cross is gearing up for a large response to this large and powerful storm.
The Red Cross had six shelters open in Virginia and North Carolina on Saturday night with nearly 130 people. More Red Cross shelters will be opening throughout the Northeast region today. It is critical families follow evacuation orders to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. If not evacuating, be prepared to stay inside and off the road to shelter in place.
FIND SHELTER Stay informed about the storm’s progress and evacuate if told to do so. If you need to find a shelter, download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check your local television, radio and newspaper.
What to bring to a shelter:
Residents who are staying home should have three days of basic supplies including:
FREE HURRICANE APP Download the free Red Cross hurricane app to receive preparedness information, weather alerts and shelter locations. The app also features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm, and the one-touch “I’m Safe” button that connects to social media sites telling family and friends they are okay. The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
POWER OUTAGES Utility companies are warning customers that the storm could cause power outages lasting several days. Everyone should fill their vehicle’s gas tank and get extra cash now as gas pumps and ATMs won’t work if the power is out. If the power goes out:
COLD WEATHER SAFETY Cold temperatures are forecast to move in along with Hurricane Sandy. Already, winter storm watches are in effect through Tuesday evening for portions of West Virginia, southeast Kentucky, east Tennessee, western Virginia and western North Carolina with snowfall accumulations of one to two feet possible (in higher elevations), along with wind gusts up to 50 mph.
When heating your home, it is important to remember fire safety precautions. Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces. Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home. Finally, keep children and pets away from these heat sources.
If you are planning to use a generator, never use it indoors, including in a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace or other area, even with ventilation. Generators put off carbon monoxide fumes, which can be deadly. Full details are available at the link above.
HOW TO HELP To help those who may be affected by this storm and other disasters, you can make a donation by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). You can also text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter or the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.