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Hurricane Matthew: Red Cross Volunteer Traveling to South Carolina

Joining Massive Relief Operation along East Coast

PORTLAND (Thursday, October 6th) – As predicted, Hurricane Matthew devastated the southern region of Haiti with wind damage, flooding, landslides and power outages, Yvette Lizotte (of Norway) is headed to South Carolina to provide disaster preparedness support with the American Red Cross.

Early this morning, Yvette departed from the Portland International Jetport and will be setting up and preparing shelters, distributed relief supplies and educating South Carolina residents about the importance of hurricane preparedness. Yvette is an eleven year volunteer with the Red Cross in Maine who has been part of multiple disaster response teams throughout the country and most recently returned from Louisiana where she assisted individuals impacted by the deadly flooding in the region.

The American Red Cross is preparing a large multi-state response to help people in the path of Hurricane Matthew as the storm heads toward the southeast coast.  The Red Cross has shelters, more than 500 disaster workers and 90 response vehicles standing by in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.  In South Carolina, the Red Cross plans to open or support 19 evacuation shelters, and dozens of additional shelters are ready to open in Georgia and North Carolina, as needed. The Red Cross has also prepositioned 30 trailer loads of sheltering supplies, ready-to-eat meals as well as clean-up kits and comfort kits containing personal hygiene items. In Florida, the Red Cross is prepared to open or support as many as 100 evacuation shelters and has more than 30 emergency response vehicles standing by.

The Red Cross is also working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to coordinate preparedness activities and potential response efforts.

HAVE A DISASTER KIT:  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.

HURRICANE SAFETY:  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.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP: 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.

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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. Learn more at MaineRedCross.org, on Twitter (ARC_Maine), or Facebook (American Red Cross of Maine).