As the American Red Cross prepares to respond should Tropical Storm Ernesto threaten U.S. communities, people who may be in the path of the storm are urged to get ready too.
Ernesto could enter the Gulf of Mexico by the middle of next week. The storm is currently swirling near St. Lucia with sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, gusting up to 75 mph.
The Red Cross is getting ready to help if needed and people who may be in the path of the storm should prepare too,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. “They should stay informed about Ernesto and check their disaster supplies, restocking or replacing items they will need.”
Red Cross preparations start long before a storm makes landfall. Relief supplies and equipment are on stand-by year round. In preparation for hurricane season, the Red Cross pre-positioned 53 shelter support trailers along the Gulf and East Coast stocked with thousands of cots, blankets and comfort kits. Also on hand are 13 kitchen support trailers with thousands of feeding supplies like disposable utensils, plates, ice chests and food containers.
GETTING READY People should create an evacuation plan with members of their household. Planning and practicing the plan can help cut down on confusion and fear if an emergency occurs. Planning should include routes to local shelters and registering family members with special needs. Everyone should also get informed about their community’s hurricane response plan. Information about what to do before the storm hits is available on the Red Cross web site.
MOBILE PHONE APPS This year, everyone can download the free Red Cross hurricane and first aid mobile apps to their iPhone or Android phones to help them get prepared for any hurricanes or tropical storms. The hurricane app gives instant access to local, real-time information on what to do before, during and after the storm hits. The “I’m Safe” button allows users to let family and friends know that they are OK at the touch of a button. The first aid app puts critical information at someone’s fingertips on how to handle the most common first aid situations. The hurricane and first aid Apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
MONTANA WILDFIRES Meanwhile, more than 200 people in Rosebud County, Montana spent Thursday night in a Red Cross shelter after being forced from their homes by a new wildfire. Disaster workers from the Red Cross of Montana Chapter are helping with food and a safe place to stay for residents of the North Cheyenne Reservation who have had to leave their community.
HOW TO HELP Every year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters ranging from a home fire involving one family to larger disasters like hurricanes and wildfires that impact entire communities. If someone would like to help, they can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.