More than 800 Stay at Red Cross Shelters in Colorado Overnight

Black Forest Wildfire Shelter in Colorado

Baby Liam and mother Meghan Mackinnon at Palmer Ridge High School shelter

Last night, 818 evacuated individuals stayed overnight at Red Cross shelters.

The American Red Cross continues to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to several wildfires burning across the state and is prepared to open and staff additional shelters as needed.

Last night, 818 evacuated individuals stayed overnight at Red Cross shelters, including approximately 700 Boy Scouts evacuated from a camp affected by the Black Forest Fire.

The Red Cross is operating shelters in the following locations:

Black Forest Fire, Colorado Springs area

• Palmer Ridge High School, 19255 Monument Hill Rd., Monument – 115 individuals stayed overnight

• Elbert County Fairgrounds, 95 Ute Ave., Kiowa – 700 individuals stayed overnight

Royal Gorge Fire, Cañon City area

• Evangelical Free Church, 3000 E. Main St., Cañon City. – 3 individuals stayed overnight

The Red Cross is partnering with local agencies to provide meals and snacks at the shelter, with the Salvation Army providing feeding at the Elbert County Fairgrounds and Woodmen Valley Chapel providing feeding at Palmer Ridge High School.

Today, Red Cross workers will join other agencies in providing assistance to affected residents at a multi-agency disaster assistance center located at El Paso County Public Health, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Rd. Red Cross caseworkers will be on hand to meet with affected residents, assess their needs, and provide comfort kits and stuffed animals. Experts will also be available to provide preparedness and evacuation information for residents who have not yet had to evacuate their homes.

The Disaster Assistance Center opened at 8 a.m. today. For more information about the Disaster Assistance Center, visit www.elpasoco.com.

HOW TO HELP: The Red Cross provides disaster relief to people completely free of charge, and is able to do so through the hard work of volunteers and the generosity of the public. We thank the public throughout Colorado for their generous support. If you would like to support Red Cross Disaster Relief go to redcross.org/Colorado or call 1-800-REDCROSS.

IN-KIND DONATIONS: The Red Cross is unable to accept small, individual donations or collections of items such as clothing, food or cleaning supplies. The cost to sort, package and distribute these types of donations to disaster victims is almost always greater than the cost of purchasing the items locally, and it is logistically impossible to distribute a wide variety of individual items in a meaningful way.

VOLUNTEERING: The Red Cross relies on a trained workforce of volunteers to provide emergency assistance.We currently have enough volunteer staff to meet our needs, but we will update with needs if they arise. If you are interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer, please visit http://www.redcross.org/co/denver/volunteer and fill out an application. You can also visit www.helpcoloradonow.org to browse other opportunities.

GETTING IN TOUCH WITH LOVED ONES

Due to the widespread nature of the wildfires and the memory of last year’s busy wildfire season, out-of-area family and friends may be particularly concerned about loved ones in and around metro areas in many parts of Colorado. People living in the affected areas and the surrounding communities are encouraged to update their social media with their safe status; you can also register yourself as safe through the Red Cross Wildfire Mobile app or by registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well site, www.redcross.org/safeandwell.

Individuals looking for the status of loved ones are encouraged to utilize social media and text rather than calling during disasters, and may check for the status of loved ones on the Red Cross Safe and Well site; please note that there may be a delay as loved ones first evacuate to a safe place before they register themselves as safe.

IF YOU ARE EVACUATING: Anyone evacuating to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

• Prescriptions and emergency medications

• Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements

• Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items

• Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys and special items for family members who are elderly or disabled

• They should also try to contact their relatives to let them know where they are and how they are doing

WILDFIRE SAFETY: If a fire is threatening your neighborhood, you should listen to local media for updated fire

information and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Other steps include:

• Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.

• Confine your pets to one room so you can find them if you need to leave quickly.

• Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors.

• Use the recycle or recirculate mode on your air conditioner in your home or car. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s too hot to stay inside with closed windows, seek shelter elsewhere.

More information on wildfire safety is available on the preparedness section of www.redcross.org.

DOWNLOAD WILDFIRE APP: Another thing people should do is download the free Red Cross Wildfire App, available in English or Spanish. The app puts help right in people’s hands, such as Red Cross shelter locations, as well as instant access to steps people should take before, during and after wildfires. Owners of Apple and Android devices can download the free app in the in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. The app also features personalized local information and an “I’m Safe” feature to help people connect with loved ones if they need to evacuate.

RECOVERING EMOTIONALLY FROM DISASTER: Disasters are upsetting experiences for everyone involved. Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and are likely to need extra care and help. But everyone, even the people that others look up to for guidance and assistance, is entitled to their feelings and deserves support throughout the recovery process.

The Red Cross is able to respond to multiple disasters in numerous locations because the organization recruits volunteers, trains and prepares for disasters and emergencies year-round. The Red Cross has five chapters and more than 2,000 trained volunteers spread throughout the state of Colorado, has material resources cached in strategic locations, and has established shelter agreements and partnerships with numerous governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, schools, businesses and places of worship to ensure that we are ready to respond at a moment’s notice throughout the state.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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