COLUMBIA, S.C., Tuesday, Jan. 28 – With a winter storm impacting the state, the Red Cross Palmetto SC Region is responding and operating seven shelters in five counties.
“Our volunteers and staff have opened shelters at the request of the local county emergency management offices,” said Mike Powers, regional disaster program officer with the Red Cross. “We are prepared to keep them open as long as needed.”
The Red Cross shelters are located at Lowcountry Presbyterian Church at 10 Simmonsville Road in Bluffton, Sea Island Presbyterian at 81 Ladys Island Drive, Colleton Middle School at 1379 Tuskegee Airman Drive, Hemingway High School at 402 South Main Street, Williamsburg County Recreation Center in Williamsburg, the Calhoun Convalescence Center on Dantzler Street in St. Matthews, and Cornerstone Community Church at 1481 Chestnut Street in Orangeburg.
To find the nearest Red Cross shelter download the free Shelter Finder App available on the Apple iTunes or Google Play stores. The Red Cross also suggests downloading the free Red Cross First Aid App for quick, expert advice on what to do in case of an emergency.
With temperatures expected to remain bitterly cold over the next few days and nights, the Red Cross is also offering tips to avoid home fires and driving safety.
Fire Safety Tips:
• Never use a stove or oven to heat the home.
• If using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs. Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
• If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
• Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
• Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment someone wants to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
• Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
• Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.
• Find out how you would get information in the event of a disaster (local radio systems, emergency alert systems).
• Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see. Don’t let the gas tank get too low during the trip.
• Use your seat belts and give your full attention to the road and avoid distractions such as cell phones.
• Don’t follow other vehicles too closely
For more information on winter storm preparedness and safety tips, please visit: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/winter-storm or http://www.redcross.org/news/article/Cold-Weather-Safety.
Because of trained disaster volunteers and financial assistance from the community, Red Cross has been able to help more than 2,800 people affected by disasters in the Palmetto SC region since July 1, 2013. On average, the American Red Cross, Palmetto SC Region responds to a disaster every 6.5 hours. The Palmetto SC Region is made up of seven Red Cross chapters spanning 35-counties of South Carolina.
Anyone interested in making a financial contribution to the American Red Cross can visit www.redcross.org or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.
About the American Red Cross: The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit Redcross.org.