GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 1, 2014 — Following last night’s thunderstorm, the American Red Cross of West Michigan urges residents to pay attention to potential safety hazards caused by storm damage.
“After a severe thunderstorm, it’s important to be mindful of the safety risks. The Red Cross is here to educate our neighbors about how to keep their families safe in the aftermath of a storm,” said Chip Kragt, Regional Disaster Officer for the Red Cross of West Michigan.
The Red Cross offers the following safety tips for those in the affected area:
-Avoid driving on flooded roads.
-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.
-Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damages. If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call 9-1-1.
-Never go near a downed power line and never touch anything that a downed wire is touching. If you see a downed power line, call Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 or Indiana Michigan Power at 1-800-311-6424.
-Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Avoid using candles. If you must use candles take extreme care. Keep candles away from any combustible materials. Place candles out of reach of children or pets. Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Candles lit and left unattended lead to a large number of single family fires and fire deaths.
-Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
-Download the free Red Cross Tornado App for your smartphone. The app provides users with preloaded safety content on how to prepare for, respond to and recover after a storm. The app also includes a warning system to alert you when a tornado warning has been issued.
If your home was damaged in the storm by downed trees, the Red Cross may be able to provide assistance. Please call 616-456-8661 for more information.
You can help people affected by disasters like floods, fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. To make a financial contribution, visit redcross.org/donate, text REDCROSS to 90999, or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.
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 redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.