American Red Cross volunteers from South Carolina are answering one of the largest calls for help in the past few years and are traveling to Texas to help with tornado and flood relief.
The five Red Cross disaster services volunteers, from the Lowcountry SC, Central SC, and Eastern SC Chapters, are trained in specialized disaster response skills. Once they arrive in Texas this weekend, the volunteers will be helping with assessing the damage caused by the storms, conducting casework for impacted families, ensuring the operation has the IT support it needs through disaster service technology, and working within government operations.
"We are glad that we can help our friends in Texas by sending some of our highly trained disaster volunteers from South Carolina to help,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional chief executive officer for the Palmetto SC Region of the American Red Cross. “It’s comforting to know that should we need assistance in SC, there would also be Red Crossers from across the nation coming to assist us. That's what we do."
Texas was hit with multiple tornadoes, including one that caused heavy damage in the community of Van. Heavy rain has also caused flooding and forced people to leave their homes. Red Cross workers have shelters open and are distributing food and relief supplies as well as providing health services.
More rain and severe weather are expected this week, and the Red Cross is busy preparing for more while also continuing to provide the many families impacted across the state along the long journey toward recovery.
The Red Cross is helping people in eight Midwest states after as many as 135 possible tornadoes moved through the region over the last several days, including Iowa. Locally, with hurricane season kicking off on June 1, now is the time to prepare.
The free makes it easy to prepare for severe weather by providing instant access to weather and emergency alerts, life-saving information and ways to contact family and friends in case an event occurs. The app covers 14 different types of disasters including tornadoes and flooding and lets users customize more than 35 emergency alerts for themselves and where loved ones live. The app contains preloaded content so users can access guidance from Red Cross experts even without mobile connectivity, and allows users to easily toggle between Spanish and English.
“Family Safe” is a unique feature that allows the app user to notify loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster and find out if they are safe. The recipient can instantly see the alert details as well as specific “what to do now” steps, and then respond with either “I’m safe” or “I’m not safe.” This feature works even if the recipient has not downloaded the Emergency App.
The app is available in app stores by searching for the Red Cross Emergency or by going to redcross.org/apps.
If the power goes out, people should:
- Use flashlights instead of candles;
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible; and
- Make sure generators are placed outside the home and away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.