The American Red Cross is preparing for what could be a large disaster response spanning multiple states and is already starting to help the millions of people whose communities are under warnings from Tropical Storm Isaac.
Red Cross disaster workers are responding throughout the Gulf region, providing shelter and help in Florida and preparing to open evacuation shelters in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Seven staff and volunteers have deployed from central and western Massachusetts and are on the ground in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi assisting with the relief and preparedness efforts:
Tom Pfeiffer, Pittsfield – Red Cross Berkshire County Disaster Director deployed 8/24 to Tampa, FL to serve as a shelter manger. Tom was redeployed to Pensacola today to open a shelter there.
Don Cawrse, Easthampton – deployed 8/24 to Tampa, FL to serve as a shelter manager.
Angela Orlich, West Springfield – deployed 8/24 to Tampa, FL to assist in the shelters.
Tim Van Cleef, Amherst – deployed 8/26 to Orlando, FL to work as a supervisor and government liaison in the Emergency Operations Center
Howard Eldrige, Springfield – deployed 8/26 to Montgomery, AL and will assist with feeding.
Dorothy Murray, Sutton – deployed 8/24 to Tampa, FL to assist in the shelters.
William Carrithers, Orange – Deployed 8/27 to Hattiesburg, MS to assist as a mental health worker.
As of Monday, August 27, the Red Cross:
Deployed more than 1,500 disaster workers across the Gulf Coast to help with Red Cross efforts. Sheltered hundreds of people Sunday night in Florida. More than 560 people spent Sunday night in Red Cross and community shelters after Isaac brought heavy rain, power outages and flooding. Overall, the Red Cross opened 22 shelters and supported 20 community shelters overnight.
Put dozens of shelters on stand-by along the Gulf, where evacuations have already been ordered in some area. Shelters are likely to open in the area throughout the day.
Sent mobile kitchens and truckloads of relief supplies to Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 50 pre-positioned support trailers are ready with supplies.
Activated more than 150 emergency response vehicles (ERVs) in those states and from around the country to help.
Continued to help in Florida where flooding continues. Red Cross disaster workers will continue to help those affected by opening shelters, providing meals and distributing relief supplies like personal hygiene and clean-up items.
WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD DO People who may be in the path of Isaac should stay informed about the storm and leave the area if authorities direct them to do so.
If someone needs to find a shelter, they can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check their local television, radio and newspaper. The free Hurricane App features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. It can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
The Red Cross Safe and Well website is a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies. To register, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). This site also connects with the Twitter and Facebook accounts of users.
People should restock their disaster supplies, and fill their vehicle’s gas tank. They should also get ready to bring anything inside that can be picked up by the wind such as lawn furniture and bicycles. Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you don’t have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
HOW YOU CAN HELP Tropical Storm Isaac is predicted to trigger a large and prolonged disaster response with major flooding across several states. People can call, click or text to donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
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 www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.