HATTIESBURG, MS, Monday, February 11, 2013—The American Red Cross is responding to damage reported in Central and South Mississippi counties following severe weather yesterday.
Red Cross is working with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and local Emergency Managers on preliminary damage assessment today. Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT) members are on the ground in the affected areas assisting with lodging, food, clothing, health services and emotional support for anyone with immediate, disaster-caused needs. Red Cross is partnering with the Salvation Army for mobile and shelter feeding today and tonight www.disaster.salvationarmyusa.org
"The Red Cross Hattiesburg Office was destroyed when a tornado ripped through that city," said Sandra Hodge, Red Cross Mississippi Region CEO. "Although the Hattiesburg Office is inoperable, we have pulled resources from our other locations and are continuing to meet the needs of those in the affected communities."
To find a Red Cross shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit the Red Cross web site, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or check local media outlets. The following shelters are open.
• Forrest County 361 Shelter on Sullivan Road off Hwy. 49 South in Hattiesburg, Forrest County
• Petal Civic Center located at 712 South Main Street in Petal, Forrest County
• Lamar County Community Center at 99 Central Industrial Road in Purvis, Lamar County
"We operate under a regional structure and share resources in multiple offices and facilities throughout Mississippi for expanded service delivery," Hodge said. "Fortunately, none of our volunteers or staff were injured during the storm."
TORNADO AND SEVERE WEATHER SAFETY:
• If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
• Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
• Stay out of damaged buildings.
• Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
• Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.
• If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
• Keep all of your animals under your direct control.
If someone would like to help people affected by emergencies like yesterday's storms, they can visit www.mississippi-redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross Office.
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.