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The American Red Cross Opening Shelter in Omaha Tonight

“Check in on your neighbors – especially those requiring special assistance and those living alone.” - Tina Labellarte, Region CEO

OMAHA, NEB., Thursday, December 20, 2012 – The American Red Cross will open a shelter at Columbus Park Community Center located at 1515 South 24th Street in Omaha beginning at 6:00 p.m. tonight for anyone impacted by the severe winter weather and power outages. Residents and travelers are urged to come to a Red Cross shelter where they will have a safe place to stay, a place to sleep, a hot meal, minor first aid, referrals and a shoulder to lean on. Shelters that were open in Holdrege and Geneva, Nebraska were closed earlier today. Additional shelters are on standby through the state and metropolitan area should an additional need arise.

The Nebraska Humane Society is asking that individuals in homes without power do not leave their pets unattended. Anyone who is in need of temporary shelter for their pet can bring their animal to the Nebraska Humane Society located at 8929 Fort Street, Omaha, Nebraska 68134. There pets will have a warm place to sleep and eat, until power is restored. Those who will be staying at the Red Cross shelter and who are unable to get to the Humane Society may bring their pet to Columbus Park Community Center. NHS workers will transport the pet to their facility for housing.

The Nebraska Humane Society is open Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Weekends 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m..

Red Cross Shelter Locations (Open 24 hours): Columbus Park Community Center, 1515 South 24th Street, Omaha, NE 68108

For help in locating a shelter, call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm or download the Red Cross Shelter App. When disaster strikes know when and where shelters have been opened to provide assistance by downloading the Red Cross Shelter App. If you have an iPhone you can download the app, it uses data about open shelters from the American Red Cross National Shelter System (NSS). The NSS contains information about 60,000 potential disaster facilities and is used to track and report on shelter information during disasters. The NSS enables emergency managers and disaster relief workers to identify relevant information for all shelters in use and to develop effective response strategies before disasters strike.

Anyone evacuating to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

  • Prescriptions and emergency medications
  • Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
  • Identification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents
  • Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items
  • Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
  • During a storm:

  • Listen and watch for critical information from the National Weather Service.
  • Bring pets inside. Move other animals and livestock to sheltered areas.
  • Stay inside. If people must go out, wear warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers.
  • Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep emergency supplies in vehicles.
  • “Check in on your neighbors – especially those requiring special assistance and those living alone,” said Tina Labellarte, Region CEO.

    For information on winter storm preparedness or to find out how you can become a volunteer visit or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

    Make a Donation

    The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and wildfires, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS; people can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters 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 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 or join our blog at