The American Red Cross is responding in Clarke, Forest, Jasper, Kemper and Noxubee counties to help those affected by this afternoon's tornado and storms.
“In the days to come, Red Cross will be coordinating with emergency officials and local community partners to help residents impacted by the tornado get back on their feet,” said Cheryl Kocurek, Red Cross disaster services. “The Red Cross will provide shelter, mobile feeding and mental health support as long as needed to those affected by the storm.”
For the latest information on shelters, weather alerts and safety tips, the Red Cross tornado app is free and available in English and Spanish. It’s designed for iPhone, iPad and Android smart phones and tablets. To down load the app, go to http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/tornado-app.
The Red Cross offers the following tips for those in the affected area to stay safer.
• Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
• Avoid damaged areas as your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations and put you at further risk from the residual effects of tornadoes.
• Stay out of damaged buildings.
• When it is safe to return home, wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
• Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
• Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Avoid using candles.
• If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly. Turn off the gas using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
• Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
• Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
• Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be kept clear for emergency calls to get through.
• Watch your animals closely. Keep all your animals under your direct control. Your pets may be able to escape from your home or through a broken fence. Pets may become disoriented, particularly because tornadoes and the heavy rains that accompany them will usually affect scent markers that normally allow animals to find their homes.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free and made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of this severe weather event in Mississippi by making a financial gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. To make contributions, donate online at www.mississippi-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 any of the local Red Cross Offices in Mississippi.
For assistance with immediate, disaster-related needs, please contact your local Red Cross office through www.mississippi-redcross.org, find us on Facebook by searching “Red Cross Mississippi” or follow us on Twitter @RedCrossMiss.