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Warming Shelters Offer Comfort for Those Affected by Winter Storm

We train and prepare to be ready to respond in our community 365 days of the year, said Kay W. Wilkins, CEO of the South Louisiana Region.

The American Red Cross has managed five warming centers overnight to help residents impacted by the storms by offering a warm, dry place to stay, a meal and a shoulder to lean on. And, as the icy weather begins to thaw, the Red Cross offers safety tips.

“We train and prepare to be ready to respond in our community 365 days of the year,” said Kay W. Wilkins, CEO of the South Louisiana Region. “Thanks to our volunteers, partners and donors, the Red Cross can be counted on, like Tuesday night, to extend a warm hand of support and offer a safe place of refuge to those in need.

Fifteen residents stayed in warming shelters in Calcasieu, Tangipahoa and St. Tammany parishes. The Red Cross has worked closely with parish officials in managing those centers, as well as coordinated with state and other parish leaders.

More than 50 Red Cross volunteers and staff from throughout south Louisiana have teamed this week to prepare and respond to the wintry weather. In addition to AmeriCorps team members, the volunteers include partners from the McNeese Red Cross Club, Southeastern Louisiana University Red Cross Club, Tangipahoa Parish CERT and, on the North Shore, Seventh Day Adventist.

“Our partners are critical to our response and ability to stand ready to meet the needs of our neighbors facing disaster,” Wilkins said. “We appreciate their collaboration and support, and invite other businesses, organizations, religious groups, college clubs and individuals to join the Red Cross team.”

The partners were among the volunteers supporting the warming shelters at:

Calcasieu Parish: Purple Heart Memorial Recreation Center, 4305 Avenue H, Lake Charles, LA 70615

St. Tammany Parish: John Slidell Park Gym, 105 Robert Blvd. Slidell, LA 70459

Tangipahoa Parish: West Side Middle School, 401 West Oak Street, Amite, LA 70422

Hammond Jr. High, 111 J. W. Davis Drive, Hammond, LA 70403

Kentwood High School, 603 9th Street, Kentwood, LA 70444

As frigid temperatures and icy conditions continue this morning, the Red Cross offers the following tips for those in the affected area to stay safer:

  • Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog.
  • Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
  • Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
  • Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
  • Check on your animals and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by ice or other obstacles. If possible, bring them indoors.
  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
  • About the American Red Cross:

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of thenation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The RedCross 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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.