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Red Cross Sending In Workers, Equipment To Help People Of Alabama

Spring is the time of year known for dangerous tornado activity in the United States, but tornadoes can form at any time of the year

The American Red Cross continues to provide food, shelter and basic necessities for residents of Alabama whose lives were affected earlier this week when tornadoes destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes and left thousands of people without power.

Governor Robert Bentley declared an emergency for the entire state. Particularly hard hit are Jefferson, St. Clair and Chilton counties. Red Cross workers from across the country are deploying to the area to assist those affected. Emergency vehicles are out in the affected neighborhoods distributing food and necessities, and Red Cross damage assessment teams are working to determine what people will need in the coming days.

The Red Cross has safety steps people should follow as they return to their neighborhoods after authorities say it is safe to do so.

  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your home for damage.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Use battery-­powered flashlights when examining buildings—do NOT use candles.
  • If a gas smell is detected, or a hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly. Call the gas company or fire department.
  • Keep animals under control.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
  • Spring is the time of year known for dangerous tornado activity in the United States, but tornadoes can form at any time of the year. The Red Cross has safety tips people can follow if tornadoes threaten their neighborhood.
  • Go to an underground shelter or safe room if available. A hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is also a safe alternative.
  • Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home. Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes. If there is access to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, get out of
  • the mobile home immediately and go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter.
  • If caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
  • If unable to walk to a shelter quickly, immediately get into a vehicle, buckle the seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If debris is flying while driving, pull over and park. Stay in the car with the seat belt on, head down below the windows and covered with hands and a blanket if possible.
  • If it is possible to get safely to an area noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, get out of the car and lie in that area. A person’s choice should be driven by specific circumstances.
  • For more information on what to do before, during and after a tornado, visit www.redcross.org.

    If someone would like to help people affected by disasters like these tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, they can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Their gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to their local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

    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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.