Hurricane Matthew is headed toward Florida and South Carolina with strong winds and heavy rain. The American Red Cross urges people who may live in the path of the storm to get prepared now. Matthew is a dangerous storm expected to drop as much as 7 inches of rain and bring high storm surges, damaging winds and dangerous rip currents to the region. National resources are being mobilized to support the relief efforts.
“This is a powerful storm and people should get ready now,” said Linda Mathes, CEO of the American Red Cross in the National Capital Region. “If someone is asked to evacuate, they should leave. We have shelters available where they can escape the dangers of the storm.”
If someone is coming to a shelter they should bring any prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. They should also include any special items for children such as diapers, formula and toys, and items needed by family members with unique needs.
Everyone should also download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including emergency weather alerts and information on what to do in the case of a hurricane and other emergencies. The app also displays shelter locations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
People should get their disaster kits ready. Include a gallon of water per person - enough for three days, three-day supply of non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a hand crank weather radio, first aid kit, medications, personal hygiene items, extra cash, cell phone and chargers, family and emergency contact information, copies of important papers and a map of the area. More details on what to include are available here.
People living in the path of the hurricane should keep informed about weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials. They should also listen to local media or a NOAA weather radio for critical information from the National Weather Service. Other steps include:
Check disaster supplies and replace or restock if needed.
Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
Close doors, windows and hurricane shutters. If you don’t have shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
Fill your car’s gas tank.
Obey evacuation orders and avoid flooded roads and bridges. Turn around, don’t drown.
Hurricane Matthew may force the cancellation of some Red Cross blood drives along the East Coast. The Red Cross is closely monitoring the storm and plans to send additional blood products to areas likely to be impacted by the storm to ensure patient needs continue to be met. Even before the hurricane threat, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Eligible donors in areas unaffected by the storm are urged to schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets. Appointments can be made to donate blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.