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Thousands Looking to Red Cross for Shelter from Sandy

Hurricane Sandy with CTA
“This will be a large, costly relief response and the Red Cross needs help now. People can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief online, by text or by phone.” - Charley Shimanski, VP Red Cross Disaster Services

SANTA ANA, Calif. Tuesday, October 30, 2012 — Thousands of people across 16 states took refuge from Superstorm Sandy in American Red Cross shelters Monday night as the massive storm hit the East Coast.

Almost 11,000 people spent the night in more than 250 Red Cross shelters across 16 states - New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, West Virginia and Indiana.

The Red Cross has deployed more than 1,700 disaster workers to the region from all over the country to help those affected by the storm. As many as 160 emergency vehicles are ready to respond when it is safe to do so and more than 230,000 ready-to-eat meals have been sent into the area.

“Sandy has affected large parts of the eastern part of the country and the region will continue to deal with the aftermath for the next few days,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. “This will be a large, costly relief response and the Red Cross needs help now. People can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief online, by text or by phone.”

Financial donations help the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Superstorm Sandy. To donate, people can visit, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter at 601 North Golden Circle Dr., Santa Ana, CA 92705 or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

BLOOD DRIVES CANCELLED Meanwhile, nearly 300 Red Cross blood drives have already been cancelled due to the storm and there could be more as the week goes on. This means a loss of as many as 3,200 blood and platelet products. If anyone is eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, they are asked to please schedule a blood donation now.

“Patients will still need blood despite the weather,” said Dr. Richard Benjamin, chief medical officer of the Red Cross. “To ensure a sufficient national blood supply is available for those in need, both during and after the storm passes, it is critical that those in unaffected areas make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible.”

To schedule a blood donation or get more information about giving blood, people can visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. To give blood someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.

RED CROSS APPS More than 230,000 people have downloaded the free Red Cross Hurricane App since Thursday when Sandy began approaching, making it one of the most popular free apps. The app gives up-to-date weather alerts, information on open Red Cross shelters, a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm and a one-touch “I’m Safe” button that lets someone use social media outlets to let family and friends know they are okay.

People have been using the app to find shelters, to set up locations for the app to monitor, to make a disaster plan and learn what steps they can take to stay safe. The app is available in Spanish just by changing the smart phone settings to Spanish before downloading.

The First Aid app puts expert advice on everyday emergencies in a person’s hand. Both can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 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 or join our blog.