More than 1.7 million customers are still without power while temperatures climb to nearly 100 degrees in many areas. The American Red Cross has shelters open throughout the affected states and is supporting hundreds of government-run cooling centers.
Nearly 1,100 Red Cross disaster workers are spread out over 13 states, helping people forced from their homes by the power outages in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic regions, wildfires in the west, and flooding from tropical storm Debby in Florida. Red Cross volunteers are focused on providing people with a cool place to stay, meals and snacks, relief items and a shoulder to lean on.
More than 1,300 people spent Monday night in Red Cross shelters across the country due to power outages, flooding and wildfires.
“Some communities may not see the power come back on for several days and the Red Cross will continue to have shelters open and support cooling centers until the electricity is restored,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “We urge everyone to follow the direction of their local officials, to check on the elderly and people who live alone in their neighborhood, and follow safety directions if using a generator in their homes.”
If someone needs to find a Red Cross shelter they can go to www.redcross.org or access the free Red Cross phone app. People can also watch local media reports to find out where shelters are located.
The hot weather and dry conditions all across the country make the situation ripe for forest and brush fires. Officials urge people to avoid using fireworks at or near their homes, to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday tradition at professional shows in their communities.
BLOOD DONATIONS NEEDED
The storms and power outages have caused the cancellation of dozens of Red Cross blood drives, resulting in a shortfall of more than 1,700 potential blood and platelet donations. The blood supply was already at emergency levels, with June blood donations down 50,000 fewer than expected.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements. To schedule an appointment, or for more information, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
While their electricity is out, many people are resorting to generator power. They should connect the equipment they want powered directly to the generator outlets, and never connect a generator to the home’s electrical system.
Thousands of people are still unable to go home as wildfires continue to scorch several western states. More than 100 people spent Sunday night in ten Red Cross shelters in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. Hundreds of disaster workers are in Colorado, where the largest fires continue to burn. Thousands of relief supplies like rakes, shovels, gloves and coolers have been handed out to people returning to their homes; and the Red Cross has served nearly 45,000 meals and snacks in Colorado.
Eighty people in Florida are staying in Red Cross shelters as communities clean up after the massive flooding from Debby.Hundreds of disaster workers and a fleet of emergency response vehicles are providing shelter, meals and distributing relief supplies.The Red Cross has served more than 37,000 meals and snacks in Florida and distributed more than 26,000 relief items like tarps, gloves, trash bags and cleaning supplies to people cleaning up their homes.
HOW TO HELP
If someone would like to help people affected by these disasters, they can make a donation today to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.