ATLANTA, GA—Thursday, September 2, 2016 — Georgia’s Red Cross is continuing to monitor Hermine and is working with local and state officials, ready to respond as needed. As of midnight Friday, nearly 150 residents stayed overnight at five Red Cross shelters opened in southern counties. There are reports of damage to some homes, fallen trees, and downed power lines resulting in thousands of power outages. Today, Red Cross volunteers will begin visiting the hardest hit areas to assess damage from Hermine. As Hermine makes its way toward southeast and coastal Georgia, additional Red Cross resources including shelters, mental health and health workers, damage assessment teams, case workers, and logistics volunteers are on standby.
People in the path of the storms should check their disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed. Emergency preparedness kits should include enough supplies for at least seven days in case someone has to evacuate. Water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents should go in every kit.
You’ve packed your kit. What else should you do?
· Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local media outlets for critical information about the storm.
· Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
· Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and get some extra cash.
· Close your windows, doors and shutters
· Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible.
· If you have propane, turn off the tank.
· Unplug small appliances.
· If you are ordered to evacuate, obey the order, avoiding flooded roads and washed out bridges.
Returning Home After Hermine:
The Red Cross advises that people should return home only when officials say it is safe.
Follow these tips when returning home, especially if you experienced flooding.
· Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
· Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
· If possible, leave children and pets with a relative or friend. If not, keep them away from hazards and floodwater.
· Beware of rodents, insects, and other animals that may be on your property or in your home.
· Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines, foundation cracks and other exterior damage. It may be too dangerous to enter the home.
· Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
· Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury\
· Smell for gas. If you smell natural gas or propane, or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and contact the fire department.
· If your home was flooded, assume it is contaminated with mold. Mold increases health risks for those with asthma, allergies or other breathing conditions.
· Open doors and windows. Let the house air out before staying inside for any length of time if the house was closed for more than 48 hours.
· Turn the main electrical power and water systems off until you or a professional can ensure that they are safe. NEVER turn the power on or off, or use and electrical tool or appliance while standing in water.
· Check the ceiling and floor for signs of sagging. Water may be trapped in the ceiling or floors may be unsafe to walk on.
Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App: The Red Cross Emergency App provides people with instant access to emergency alerts and life-saving information. Available for smart phones and tablets, it includes content on what to do before, during and after a variety of severe weather events. Users can customize more than 35 emergency weather alerts based on their location and where loved ones live. The app is available in app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.