Wildfires and Floods Force Thousands from Their Homes

Emergency response Vehicles
The Red Cross has shelters open to help people who need a place to go...

The American Red Cross is sending relief supplies into Florida to help residents affected by flooding from Tropical Storm Debby. In addition, help is also being provided to people in the west where wildfires have forced thousands from their homes.

The Red Cross had 22 shelters open across the country overnight in Maryland, Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, Indiana and Florida for people affected by wildfires, flooding, severe weather and family fires. In Florida, 12 Red Cross shelters were open overnight across the impacted areas of the state. Trained disaster workers are responding and relief supplies such as toiletry and clean-up items, snacks, trash bags and gloves have been shipped to the state. All 22 Red Cross emergency response vehicles in the state and 26 more in Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi are on alert to respond if needed.

Five shelters were open in Colorado overnight. The Red Cross has been operating shelters in the state since June 9 and has provided more than 320 overnight stays. More than 200 disaster workers are responding and have served more than 30,780 meals and snacks, provided more than 3,000 health and mental health consultations and distributed more than 3,800 relief items.

“We urge everyone to follow the advice of their local officials and evacuate immediately if told to do so,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “The Red Cross has shelters open to help people who need a place to go, and we have additional workers, supplies and response vehicles on standby.”

HOW TO FIND RED CROSS SHELTERS People who have been forced to evacuate can find out where Red Cross shelters are open by going to www.redcross.org or accessing the free Red Cross phone app. Both are refreshed with updated information every 30 minutes. Residents can also monitor local media—radio, newspaper and television—to find out where local shelters are located.

REGISTER ON SAFE AND WELL The Red Cross Safe and Well website is also available. People affected by the fires and flooding can access the site and let loved ones know where they are. There are several ways to register on Safe and Well, or search for a loved one. From a computer, visit redcross.org; from a smart phone, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to be connected with the local Red Cross chapter.

SAFETY TIPS Residents in Florida and Colorado are urged to be prepared to evacuate if necessary. The Red Cross has safety steps to follow if your community is impacted by the wildfires and flooding. Tropical Storm Debby is also churning up the water and information about what to do if caught in a rip current is available on the Red Cross website.

HOW PEOPLE CAN HELP Those who want to help 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 www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013.

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

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