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Red Cross Continues to Help Families Affected by Windstorm

Red Cross Continues to Help Families Affected by Windstorm

Following a severe windstorm, Red Cross relief workers distributed much needed water, snacks, and other relief supplies in Nisswa, Minn., on July 15, 2015. Image credit: Eric Adams/American Red Cross.

During this emergency response phase, our focus is on providing the essentials for people in need.

American Red Cross volunteers, on the ground since severe windstorms struck the Brainerd Lakes, Minn., area earlier this week, continue to help their neighbors in need.

More than 20 Red Cross relief workers are coordinating with local and regional partners to provide for families immediate needs such as water, ice and clean-up supplies. Two Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles are canvassing the hardest hit areas bringing aid to those still without power and cut-off from other resources by downed power lines and trees.

The Red Cross is distributing thousands bottles of water and hundreds of pounds of ice to residents working in hot and humid conditions as they pick up the pieces and get back to normal. The American Red Cross and partner agency resources are available at the relief center at Timberwood Church on 23084 Highway 371, in Nisswa from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

“During this emergency response phase, our focus is on providing the essentials for people in need,” says Dan Williams, Executive Director of the American Red Cross serving Northern Minnesota. “Next steps will include conducting damage assessment once officials declare areas safe for return.”

In addition, the Red Cross recommends following these safety tips:

Power Outage Safety

  • What to Do Until the Power Comes Back On
  • Do not touch any electrical power lines and keep your family and pets away from them. Report downed power lines to the appropriate officials in your area.
  • Throw Out Unsafe Food after a Blackout

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer. Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to touch.
  • Cleaning Up After a Thunderstorm or Tornado

  • Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
  • If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
  • By empowering local volunteers, the American Red Cross is able to fulfill its mission to prevent and alleviate suffering in the face of emergencies. Become a Red Cross volunteer in your community, visit

    How You Can Help

    The Minnesota Region of the American Red Cross responds to more than 600 disasters every year. You can help people affected by disasters by making a donation to support 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. Click, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to the American Red Cross serving Northern Minnesota, 2524 Maple Grove Rd., Duluth, MN 55811.

    About the American Red Cross

    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission.

    The American Red Cross serving Northern Minnesota serves more than 570,000 people in Aitkin, Beltrami, Carlton, Cass, Clearwater, Cook, Crow Wing, Hubbard, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Roseau, St. Louis and Wadena counties in Minnesota and Douglas County, Wisconsin. For more information, please visit Like us on Facebook: American Red Cross serving Northern Minnesota.