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Red Cross Offers Tips to Prepare Ahead of Storm

Download the Free Hurricane App to Stay Safe

As Hurricane Joaquin continues to develop with the potential for an effect on Rhode Island, the American Red Cross is urging Rhode Island residents to begin their preparedness actions now in the event of an impact on our state and in case local authorities issue evacuation orders. 

“The Red Cross is preparing for Hurricane Joaquin and right now, the most important thing residents can do is to make sure they’re prepared as well, in the event of Joaquin,” said Stefanie Arcangelo, Chief Communications Officer, American Red Cross Rhode Island. “Now is the time to download the Red Cross hurricane app, finalize your evacuation plan and listen to the advice of local authorities. If you’re asked to evacuate, please do so immediately.”

“While the storm’s path is still being determined, we don’t know what impact Joaquin may ultimately bring to us, but there could be flooding or wind damage that would disrupt power and potentially force people to leave their homes,” Arcangelo said. “We want people to be ready to spend a few days without power or to be able to leave their homes quickly, if ordered.”

The Rhode Island Red Cross is currently taking steps to prepare for the storm; “We are contacting our volunteers to determine their availability, checking our supplies and readying our plans.” She said the Red Cross is in communication with state and local government officials to coordinate their efforts. 

The Red Cross encourages families to be prepared by taking the following steps:

Download the free hurricane app.  The hurricane app sends location-based weather alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It includes tips on how assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to leave your home. The hurricane app also includes a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. The app has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting 

Create a family evacuation plan.  Use local maps and identify alternate evacuation routes from home, work and/or school. Know where you are going and how you plan to get there before you leave home. Include your pets in your evacuation plan. If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them. Develop a family communication plan by identifying an out-of-area contact person that family members and friends can call if you are separated from one another. Watch TV, listen to AM/FM or NOAA weather radio and check the Internet often for official news.

Update your emergency preparedness kit. Ensure your kit has the following items: Water - one gallon per person, per day;  non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food; a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries; a first aid kit; prescription and non-prescription medication items (seven-day supply); copies of important documents; cell phone chargers; sanitation and personal hygiene item; extra cash; and pet supplies.

Prepare your home.  Close all windows and doors. Cover windows with storm shutters or plywood. Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased and damaged limbs, then strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through. Strengthen garage doors and unreinforced masonry. Move or secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations or ornaments, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind and become a projectile.

If you need to evacuate, do so immediately. Follow the direction of local authorities on which routes to take, which evacuation shelters to seek, and other important advice. To locate the nearest Red Cross emergency shelter, check your hurricane app or visit If you do not have Internet access, call the [chapter name] chapter at [chapter phone number] for information. Keep listening for updates, as the intensity and the path of the hurricane can change quickly, and without notice. Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flooded road, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. The floodwaters may still be rising, and most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

For more information on what to do before, during and after a hurricane, please visit Hurricane preparedness checklists are available in several common languages.

Rhode Island residents are also encouraged to visit the State of Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency website at or their local town emergency management website for additional information on the storm and to stay up-to-date.

You can also follow the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @RIRedCross contact the Rhode Island Chapter at 401-831-7700,visit or call 1-800-REDCROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross hurricane preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.   

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.