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American Red Cross is Managing a Family Reunification Center at FIU to Support Families Affected by the Bridge Collapse

Miami, March 15, 2018 – Our hearts are with the local community and all who have been affected by the collapse of the pedestrian bridge adjacent to Florida International University in Miami. The American Red Cross is partnering with Florida International University staff and local authorities to support the families affected by the incident. The American Red Cross opened a family reunification center at the Student Academic Success Center located at 1401 SW 108th Avenue in Miami. We will be providing emotional support, spiritual care and food for the families affected by this disaster.

Over the coming days, the Red Cross will continue to coordinate closely with local officials and community partners to determine how we can best support the community and individuals involved. 

 The Red Cross understands that people want to help and appreciates that support. Right now, the Red Cross has what it needs to support the community and is not accepting financial donations designated specifically for this event.

COPING AND PREPAREDNESS TIPS

This is a difficult time for everyone affected and it’s important for people to connect with and support each other. The Red Cross offers the following tips to help people stay strong:

·         Events like this can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety since no one knows what could potentially happen next. Remember that it's okay to feel nervous.

·         Stay informed but limit media exposure of the events, especially for children. Children are especially vulnerable to stress reactions related to media.

·         Parents should let children talk about their fears and then reassure them about their safety. Talk with them in ways that they can easily understand. Let them guide the conversation; share details only when they ask about them.

·         Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety.

·         Spend more time with family and friends and offer your support. Hug one another and listen.

·         Watch for signs of stress in your family, friends and children. Get help from others if needed.

·         Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.

·         To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746

PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES

This tragedy shows that emergencies can happen in any community at any time. And it’s critical to know what to do when an emergency occurs. Check information at the above link to learn how to get your household prepared. Register for a Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED course at redcross.org so that you can be better prepared to help in future emergencies. People can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. 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 redcross.org/southflorida or visit us on Twitter at @SFLRedCross .

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