Personal preparedness can help keep people safer during an emergency. Having an up to date family communications plan can alleviate fear and provide peace of mind. In preparation for Hurricane Iselle, remember to let your family and friends know about your plans. Should the hurricane make landfall, electricity and phone lines may be down for a period of time, and loved ones across the country may fear for the safety of those in the disaster area.
A communication tool that families can integrate into their plan is the Red Cross Safe and Well website, accessed via www.redcross.org. This public website allows those affected by disaster to register themselves as “safe and well” by posting standard messages that indicate they are at a shelter, home, or hotel and will make contact when they are able. Concerned family members who know the person's phone number or a complete home address can search for the posted messages. In addition to bringing peace of mind to those outside of the disaster area, use of this tool helps mitigate congestion of public and cellular telephone lines and reduces the burden on emergency responders.
It is important to note that the Safe and Well website safeguards the registrant’s privacy. Standard messages are enough to provide peace of mind, but the site does not reveal the registrant’s specific location or contact information.
People without access to a computer, without electricity or in need of help from an interpreter can call the Red Cross at 1-800 RED CROSS to register.
Download free Red Cross mobile apps. People can use the one touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way- even if the power is out. The apps are free and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Plan Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. For more information got to www.redcross.org/mobileapps
How You Can Help
Help people affected by disasters like tropical storms and countless other crises by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org/donate, or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.