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Georgia Red Cross Provides Safe Refuge Ahead of Irma

Our priority today is to give people a safe place to ride out this storm

Atlanta, Ga- Saturday, September 9, 2017-- The extremely powerful and historic Hurricane Irma is barreling toward Florida bringing the threat of extreme winds, torrential rain and dangerous flash flooding. Georgia is her next stop and the Red Cross is working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to coordinate response efforts and provide safe refuge to the millions of people forced from their homes under mandatory evacuation orders.

Friday night 1,185 people sought refuge in 13 evacuation centers in Georgia. “Our priority today is to give people a safe place to ride out this storm,” said Adelaide Kirk, Executive Director for the American Red Cross of West Central Georgia, who is helping oversee operations at the Columbus Civic Center. “We’re encouraging people to bring extra blankets, pillows and personal items that will make their stay more comfortable.”

Anyone coming to a hurricane evacuation center should bring their emergency supplies kit with a minimum 3-day supply for each person of the following items:

  • Water: one gallon per person, per day
  • Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items
  • Bedding: pillows and blankets
  • Medications, medical items and supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • People in the path of this storm need to finalize their preparations today and heed the advice of local officials. Listen to local media or NOAA radio for the latest updates. People can also visit to get up to date Hurricane Irma Response Information, learn how to keep their family and home safe during a hurricane, find open shelters or become a volunteer.

    Alexandra Puentes and her four children, ages 8 to 14 years, fled Brunswick, Georgia yesterday in advance of Hurricane Irma and found the safe haven they were looking for at a Red Cross shelter in Macon, 200 miles away. Daughters Adriana (in pink) and Larissa quickly made themselves at home. “The helpfulness and kindness of the Red Cross shelter workers has been outstanding,” she Puentes. "We will be ready to face the future when the storm has passed."

    The American Red Cross Safe and Well website is a free public reunification tool that allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available and open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876. Messages exist in both Spanish and English. To speak with someone at the American Red Cross concerning a missing friend or relative, please contact 1-800 Red Cross.

    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, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.