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Red Cross Responds To Wildfires, Floods, Severe Weather

Red Cross workers are responding in all six states to help people impacted by these disasters.

The American Red Cross is helping people across several states where wildfires, flooding and severe storms are impacting their communities.

Wildfires are burning in California and Oregon, flooding is impacting communities in Georgia, Missouri and Kansas and a tornado and severe storms are affecting parts of Wisconsin. Red Cross workers are responding in all six states to help people impacted by these disasters.

WILDFIRES In California, the Silver Fire has consumed thousands of acres near Palm Springs, threatening homes and businesses and forcing thousands of people to evacuate. The Red Cross is providing shelter for those in need and working with local emergency management officials to ensure those affected get the help they need. In Oregon, the Douglas Complex Fire has burned more than 42,000 acres and is about 28 percent contained. Hundreds of structures are in the path of the fire, and the Red Cross opened a shelter for those who had to leave their neighborhoods.

FLOODING RESPONSE Heavy rains caused flooding in Georgia, Missouri and Kansas. In Georgia, the Red Cross opened a shelter for people forced from their homes and will begin damage assessment when the flood waters go down. Some parts of Missouri received up to a foot of rain in two days and residents in several counties were ordered to evacuate due to flooding in the area. People in central and southeastern Kansas were forced out of their homes after more than a foot of rain fell over several days. Red Cross workers opened shelters, provided meals and are distributing cleaning items as residents begin to recover from the flooding.


TORNADO In Wisconsin, a tornado and severe thunderstorms caused damage in the central and northeast regions of the state. The Red Cross opened shelters and provided meals for those affected. More rain is forecasted for the area which could cause significant flooding. The Red Cross is working with emergency management officials to monitor the situation and ensure people get the help they need.

WILDFIRE SAFETY If wildfires are possible in someone’s community, they should be ready to evacuate quickly and pack an emergency disaster kit including water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications, sanitation and personal hygiene items, important papers and cell phones and chargers, extra cash and maps of the area. They can also download the free Red Cross Wildfire App to get the latest fire news from local, state and federal agencies as well as access to preloaded information about what to do before, during and after a wildfire. The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. More information about wildfire safety is available on this web site.

FLOOD SAFETY If flooding threatens someone’s neighborhood, they should follow these steps to remain safe:

  • Stay away from floodwaters. If someone comes upon a flowing stream where water is above their ankles, they should stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of water can sweep them off their feet.
  • If someone encounters a flooded road while driving, they should turn around and go another way. Do not attempt to drive through the water. If caught on a flooded road, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  • Be especially cautions at night when it is harder to see flood danger.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • TORNADO SAFETY If severe storms and tornadoes threaten someone’s community, the Red Cross urges them to pick a safe room in their household where loved ones and pets can gather, such as a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. Mobile homes are not safe during tornados. If someone is in a mobile home, they should get to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately - do not wait until the tornado is visible. If someone is caught outdoors, they should seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building. More information about what to do if a tornado occurs is available in the preparedness section of this web site.

    People can also download the free Red Cross Tornado App, available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. The app includes important things like a high-pitched siren and tornado warning alert that signals when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued. This feature allows users to make critical decisions and to take actions to help keep themselves and their loved ones safe even in the middle of the night. An all-clear alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled.

    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.