The rain has finally stopped falling in Tampa Bay and today the sun is shining brightly, but eleven straight days of torrential downpours with record rainfall of over 18 inches in some areas have left tremendous damage. The rainfall caused many homes to be destroyed, with residents forced to evacuate and leave belongings behind as the water rose; some even had to be rescued by special flood rescue vehicles.
For one shelter resident this was not his first encounter with the American Red Cross. On Monday, Don Garrett and his mother, Pat, were forced to flee their home in the Suncoast Gateway Mobile Home Park in New Port Richey. The flood waters rushed in so quickly that they didn’t have time to grab extra clothes or other personal belongings. Their temporary home became a Red Cross shelter.
But Don was familiar with the Red Cross, as he was first introduced to the organization in 1993 as a Red Cross volunteer. Don was working in Des Moines, Iowa when a major flood overtook the city. Don’s company had trained their employees to be Red Cross shelter workers. His experience gave him a great appreciation for the services of the Red Cross and the value of the volunteers. Don’s training with the Red Cross meant that he knew he and his Mom were going to be safe and cared for in a Red Cross shelter.
Twenty-two years later, Don was thankful to have the Red Cross there to help him just as he had helped others so long ago. His knowledge of the Red Cross allowed him to calm his elderly mother’s fears during this stressful emergency evacuation.
Safety, hope and caring: this is what the American Red Cross does. We provide emergency assistance and emotional support during what are often the darkest moments of someone’s life.
Because of support from generous donors, your American Red Cross was ready and able to respond. We didn’t have to wait, we were there to answer the call. In just the past few days almost 100 trained disaster workers have supported relief efforts in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties, providing safe shelter, warm meals and distributing relief supplies like clean-up kits containing mops, buckets, bleach, trash bags, rakes and more. Red Cross mobile feeding units are also canvassing the neighborhoods distributing water and snacks to residents without power or who are cleaning up.
In the coming days, the Red Cross will meet with affected residents to address their disaster-related needs. Their recovery will take time, but with your support, we can ensure that they are never alone.
Thank you for helping us bring hope to those in need during the dark moments of their lives.
Staying Safe During a Flood
The Red Cross wants everyone to know what steps they can take to remain safe if severe storm weather threatens.
Floods are among the most frequent natural disasters. Here are some things you should do now in case flooding occurs in your area:
• Listen to area radio/television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
• Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
• When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there; do not go near floodwaters and keep children out of the water.
Red Cross Emergency App
Download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to expert advice on what to do right before, during and after 14 different types of emergencies and disasters, including earthquakes. The app contains weather alerts, lifesaving information and ways to contact family and friends in one free, easy-to-use app for mobile devices. Users can customize more than 35 emergency alerts based on their location and where their loved ones live.
The free Emergency App is available in app stores for smartphones and tablets by searching for the American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
Delivering Hope Every Day
About every 8 minutes, the Red Cross responds to a disaster, from single-family and apartment home fires to severe storms, floods and wildfires. People in need turn to us in their darkest hours because they know they can depend on us for immediate relief and help through their recovery.
To fulfill this promise, the Red Cross must be ready for every disaster, regardless of its size. We count on the generosity of our donors, whose support of Disaster Relief enables us to be there for those we serve. We ask you to join in this commitment.
How You Can Help
Help people affected by disasters like flooding in Florida and countless other crises at home and around the world by making a gift to 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. Visit redcross.org/donate, or call 1-800-RED CROSS. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter, or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 26902, Lehigh Valley, PA 18002-6902.