HATTIESBURG, MISS., THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2013 — The American Red Cross urges Mississippians to take steps now to stay safe as severe weather threatens the state this evening.
“Red Cross is prepared and ready to respond should a severe weather event impact the state today. Currently, we have two shelters open with others on standby if needed,” said Cheryl Kocurek, Red Cross assistant director of disaster response. “We encourage anyone who may need to seek refuge to register at one of our Red Cross-supported shelters.”
The following shelters are open.
•Forrest County 361 Shelter on Sullivan Road off Hwy. 49 South in Hattiesburg
•Lamar County Community Center at 99 Central Industrial Road in Purvis
“To ensure the safety of our volunteers and staff, we will suspend a portion of service delivery during times of potential inclement weather this afternoon, as storms are predicted to move through the state,” said Kocurek. “While shelters will remain open, some of our community-based services such as emergency aid stations, bulk distribution and outreach will be suspended as of 1 p.m. today.”
The Red Cross recommends the following guidelines for individuals and families to prepare for floods.
Heed Flood Warnings
•Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information.
•A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.
•A flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
•When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
Relocate During Flood Warnings
•Stay away from flood waters.
•If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way.
•If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way.
•If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
For more information, visit www.mississippi-redcross.org and click Programs and Services/Disaster.
Disaster Response Update
Red Cross Disaster Action Teams (DAT) have responded in Attala, Forrest, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Jones, Lamar, Lawrence, Marion, Perry and Wayne counties. Red Cross is working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and local Emergency Managers.
Red Cross continues individual service delivery through client casework this week in South and Central Mississippi communities affected by recent tornadoes and flooding.
Client caseworkers are in the impacted neighborhoods and on location in the multiple FEMA/MEMA Disaster Recovery Centers set-up in the impacted counties. Red Cross caseworkers are helping individuals with immediate, disaster-related needs by meeting with them one-on-one to provide guidance and support during their recovery process.
For a list of FEMA/MEMA Disaster Recovery Centers locations and hours of operation, visit www.msema.org.
“Red Cross is partnering with FEMA and MEMA to support their Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) open in the affected counties, said Charles Blake, disaster operations director for the American Red Cross. “Additionally, we are continuing to feed, shelter and distribute disaster relief supplies to those in need.”
To find a Red Cross shelter, people can download the Red Cross Hurricane app (http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/hurricane-app), visit mississippi-redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). For a list of items to bring with you to the shelter, visit www.mississippi-redcross.org.
Red Cross health services and mental health workers will continue to meet with families that have disaster-caused health and emotional needs. The agency also continues to work with community partners and agencies to identify appropriate resources for any remaining emergency needs.
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free and made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of this severe weather event in Mississippi by making a financial gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief in Mississippi which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. To make contributions, donate online at www.mississippi-redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to any of the local Red Cross offices in Mississippi.
If residents still have disaster-caused needs specifically related to the February 10 tornadoes and subsequent flooding, they can call the local Red Cross office, search “Red Cross Mississippi” on Facebook or follow @RedCrossMiss on Twitter. For a list of Red Cross offices and contact numbers, visit www.mississippi-redcross.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross Mississippi Region shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters, supports the supply of 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 mississippi-redcross.org, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @RedCrossMiss.