CHICAGO, IL (Oct. 5, 2016) — The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois today deployed two local volunteers to prepare coastal communities for Hurricane Matthew expected to make landfall in the United States this week.
Hurricane Matthew is headed toward the East Coast with strong winds and heavy rain and the Red Cross urges people who may live in the path of the storm to get prepared now. Matthew is a dangerous storm expected to drop as much as 7 inches of rain and bring high storm surges, damaging winds and dangerous rip currents to the region.
“This is a powerful storm and people should get ready now,” said Celena Roldán, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois. “If someone is asked to evacuate, they should leave. We have shelters available where they can escape the dangers of the storm. We are sending volunteers to help these communities brace for the storm.”
TWO LOCAL VOLUNTEERS DEPLOYED
Augusto Alves de Carvalho, 28, a graduate student studying civil engineering and disasters at the Illinois Institute of Technology, is going to South Carolina to manage shelters for people evacuating their homes. A volunteer since December 2015, Alves de Carvalho is embarking on his second deployment with the Red Cross, returning a few weeks ago after completing a two-week assignment during the floods in Louisiana. “It’s a difficult situation and I want to be there to help,” he said.
Also deploying to aid shelter operations is volunteer Jim Connelly of Lincolnwood. A disaster services instructor with the Red Cross, Connelly trains other volunteers in the Chicago region how to operate shelters and drive emergency response vehicles. Hurricane Matthew is Connelly’s seventh deployment in three years since 2013.
More local volunteers may deploy throughout the week depending on the severity of the storm and need for disaster relief.
Everyone should also download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including emergency weather alerts and information on what to do in the case of a hurricane and other emergencies. The app also displays shelter locations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
People should get their disaster kits ready. Include a gallon of water per person - enough for three days, three-day supply of non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a hand crank weather radio, first aid kit, medications, personal hygiene items, extra cash, cell phone and chargers, family and emergency contact information, copies of important papers and a map of the area. More details on what to include are available here.
People living in the path of the hurricane should keep informed about weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials. They should also listen to local media or a NOAA weather radio for critical information from the National Weather Service. Other steps include:
- Check disaster supplies and replace or restock if needed.
- Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
- Close doors, windows and hurricane shutters. If you don’t have shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
- Fill your car’s gas tank.
- Obey evacuation orders and avoid flooded roads and bridges. Turn around, don’t drown.
Hurricane Matthew may force the cancellation of some Red Cross blood drives along the East Coast. The Red Cross is closely monitoring the storm and plans to send additional blood products to areas likely to be impacted by the storm to ensure patient needs continue to be met. Even before the hurricane threat, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Eligible donors in areas unaffected by the storm are urged to schedule an appointment to donate blood or platelets. Appointments can be made to donate blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Contact: Patricia Kemp
Office: (312) 729-6225 | Cell: (313) 220-3335 | 24/7 Media Line: (312) 907-0520
About the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois:
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois serves 9.5 million people in 21 counties in Northern Illinois including Boone, Bureau, Carroll, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Jo Daviess, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Putnam, Stephenson, Whiteside, Will and Winnebago. 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 us at redcross.org/il/chicago or visit us on Twitter at @ChicagoRedCross.