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Helping Residents Devastated by Tornadoes, Wildfires

Tornado Damage
Tornadoes can hit at any time, in any place. Download the tornado app to prepare for severe storms today.

On Monday, the American Red Cross responded to disasters from coast to coast with tornadoes in the East and Midwest, while wildfires continued to burn in the West.

TORNADO RESPONSE In Massachusetts, a tornado threatened residents and damaged homes in Suffolk County. In response, the Red Cross opened a shelter, provided food and distributed supplies. An emergency response vehicle was also dispatched for residents and first responders, providing mobile feeding in the affected areas. While the shelter has closed, the Red Cross continues to coordinate with local officials to meet the disaster needs of the community.

Over the weekend, several states in the Midwest and South experienced damaging storms including Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia. Tennessee experienced the worst damage with severe storms sweeping through multiple portions of the state, destroying homes, damaging buildings and leaving thousands of residents without power on Sunday.

In response, the Red Cross deployed disaster workers to reach out to those affected, providing food and supplies to those in need. The Red Cross is also working with emergency management agencies to assist with additional needs in storm-battered communities throughout the region.

TORNADO SAFETY During any storm, it is important to listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings. Residents should also identify a safe room in their home where household members and pets can gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.

The Red Cross also encourages you to download our free Red Cross Tornado App which includes more safety information as well as alerts for tornado watches and warnings in your area. It can also help you locate a shelter if you need a safe place to weather the storm.

WILDFIRE RESPONSE Across western parts of the country, multiple wildfires and extreme fire conditions continue. In California and Washington, the American Red Cross is providing affected residents a safe place to stay, food to eat and emotional comfort as wildfires threaten communities.

In northern California, fast-moving wildfires threatened homes, causing mandatory and voluntary evacuations that remain in effect for regions near Sacramento and in Mariposa County. Monday night, the Red Cross had one shelter open in El Dorado County with 13 people. Red Cross workers are providing meals, snacks and support to affected residents and first responders. On the ground, the Red Cross continues to maintain situational awareness of wildfire activities and are following up with disaster victims to assist with ongoing needs.

In eastern Washington where wildfires continue to burn since mid-July, the Red Cross has a shelter open, as well as two service centers where people can meet with caseworkers and health and mental health specialists. Emergency response vehicles are also traveling throughout the area, delivering food and supplies to people in devastated communities. Red Cross workers remain in close coordination with Emergency Management teams to identify what additional help people may need.

Since the start of the Washington wildfire response, the Red Cross has provided nearly 340 overnight shelter stays; nearly 32,000 meals and snacks and more than 1,000 health and mental health services in the community. More than 225 Red Cross disaster responders from throughout Washington and across the country have come to the area to support this disaster operation.

WILDFIRE SAFETY People living near the wildfires should stay informed about the situation and be ready to leave their homes at a moment’s notice. Review wildfire safety steps.

In addition, residents can also download the free Red Cross Wildfire App for preloaded content that lets users know what they should do before, during and after a wildfire. Another helpful app to download is the Red Cross First Aid app for information on hand about how to handle the most common first aid emergencies. Both apps are available for iPhone and Android devices.

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.