Red Cross Volunteers Continue Tornado Response Efforts

After a disaster like this one, we work very closely with our local Emergency Management Agencies and community partners to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of those who were affected.

Two days after violent storms and tornadoes ripped across several counties in Tennessee, the American Red Cross continues to work on assessing the needs of those who were affected. Volunteers will be conducting client casework and damage assessment to determine if the Red Cross can provide emergency food, clothing, shelter and medications to those who have been affected.

“After a disaster like this one, we work very closely with our local Emergency Management Agencies and community partners to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of those who were affected,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional CEO for the Tennessee Volunteer Region. “We also rely very heavily on our dedicated volunteers to mobilize quickly for such a response, on very short notice and often in the middle of the night.”

To date, the relief organization has assisted 30 families in Davidson and 64 total families across 13 counties including: Davidson, Dickson, Chester, Coffee, Fayette, Hardeman, Hardin, Henderson, Hickman, Madison, McNairy, Robertson, Sumner counties in Middle and Western Tennessee. Hickman County was the hardest hit community and Red Cross volunteers will be stationed at 118 Church Street in Centerville, Tennessee on Friday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. to continue to provide individual client case work with local families in the community who were affected. Anyone who was affected by these storms that has not already met with the Red Cross, is encouraged to call 615.250.4300 to inquire about available assistance in your community.

An emergency shelter was initially set up on Wednesday, and offered to anyone who needed to utilize it, to provide a safe place to stay and food for displaced families due to the storm. The shelter will be closed as of noon on Thursday, due to a lack of residents. Two residents that stayed at the shelter overnight on Wednesday are being provided with other accommodations. In the days ahead, we will continue to work closely with our partner agencies and emergency management officials to make sure that all emergency needs of those affected by the storms have been addressed.

The Red Cross offers some important tips on physical property and emotional recovery for those who were affected by these storms:

As you rebuild

  • Strengthen existing garage doors to improve the wind resistance, particularly double-wide garage doors.
  • If your home has been significantly damaged and will require rebuilding parts or all of it, consult with your contractor about having a tornado safe room built during the process. A tornado safe room can save lives.
  • Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA web site.
  • Ask a professional to

  • Look at common connections in wood frame buildings and add anchors, clips and straps that will provide more strength to your home.
  • Reinforce masonry walls that provide structural support to your home.
  • Secure your chimney. Masonry chimneys that extend more than six feet above the roof or have a width of 40 inches or more should have continuous vertical reinforcing steel placed in the corners to provide greater resistance to wind loads.
  • Permanently connect your manufactured home to its foundation to decrease the potential for damage from high winds.
  • The Red Cross encourages those in tornado-prone areas to use the Tornado Safety Checklist, located on Redcross.org, which provides information on what you can do before, during and after a tornado strikes.

    Emotional Recovery

    Disasters are upsetting experiences for everyone involved. Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and are likely to need extra care and help. But everyone, even the people that others look up to for guidance and assistance, is entitled to their feelings and deserves support throughout the recovery process.

    When we experience a disaster or other stressful life event, we can have a variety of reactions, all of which can be common responses to difficult situations.

    These reactions can include:

  • Feeling physically and mentally drained
  • Having difficulty making decisions or staying focused on topics
  • Becoming easily frustrated on a more frequent basis
  • Arguing more with family and friends
  • Feeling tired, sad, numb, lonely or worried
  • Experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns
  • Most of these reactions are temporary and will go away over time. Try to accept whatever reactions you may have. Look for ways to take one step at a time and focus on taking care of your disaster-related needs and those of your family.

    Keep a particularly close eye on the children in your family. When disaster strikes, a child's view of the world as a safe and predictable place is temporarily lost. Children of different ages react in different ways to trauma, but how parents and other adults react following any traumatic event can help children recover more quickly and more completely. Your local Red Cross can give you information about helping children cope with disaster and trauma.

    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 join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org