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Red Cross Opens Shelter at Southwest High School

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American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties Opens Shelter for Those Affected by El Centro Power Outage

 Shelter to provide for immediate needs of displaced residents

SAN DIEGO, August 4, 2017 — In response to the power outage affecting residents in the El Centro/Seeley area, American Red Cross disaster workers opened a shelter last night at Southwest High School (2001 Ocotillo Drive, El Centro, CA 92243).

The shelter provides for the immediate needs of those affected by the power outage who do not have a place to stay. Services include a safe, clean and air-conditioned place to stay, food, hydration, comfort kits with personal hygiene items, emotional support and health services. The shelter will remain open for as long as there is a need.

The local Red Cross is dedicated to assisting those affected by disasters. We are working closely with the Imperial County Office of Emergency Services and our partners to coordinate relief efforts.

Trained Red Cross volunteers and staff are on call round-the-clock and ready to assist in various aspects including sheltering, feeding, disaster assessment, casework, and more. The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties responds to about one disaster every 24 hours.

During a Power Outage

Stay Safe Indoors

- Use flash lights in the dark, not candles.

- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.

- If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely.

Food Safety

- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

- First use perishable food from the refrigerator. Perishables should have a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the freezer.

- Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.

- If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.

- Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.

Electrical Equipment

- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.

- Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.

- Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

After a Power Outage

- If electrical power lines are down, don’t touch them. Keep your family and pets away. Report downed lines to your utility company.

Throw Out Unsafe Food

- Throw away any food (particularly meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) 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 you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.

- If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.

Download the free Red Cross Emergency App at for additional emergency preparedness information. Find more information about the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties at

About the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties

The American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties is the most trusted community service organization in education, preparation and response to natural disasters and human emergencies. With the public’s ongoing support we provide lifesaving preparedness training; disaster relief services; services to deployed military personnel and their families; and nutritional counseling through our Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Through Prepare San Diego, a four-year regional resiliency initiative, the Red Cross brings together key community and business leaders from the region to create a sustainable network that encourages preparedness, carries out response and recovery plans, and strives for resiliency in the face of disaster, meeting all aspects of the disaster lifecycle.  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 connect with us on Facebook and YouTube and Twitter.          

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