Red Cross Responding to Sandy in Rhode Island

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PROVIDENCE, RI, October 29, 2012 – As Sandy continues her path northward, the American Red Cross is in response mode across Rhode Island.

“The Red Cross is working with the state and communities across Rhode Island to make sure our operations are coordinated. We have people and resources in place to help,” said American Red Cross spokesperson Paul Shipman.

Shipman said shelters have been opened in communities across the state. As of midnight Sunday, shelters open were:

  • Cumberland High School, Cumberland
  • Primrose Hill School, Barrington
  • Joseph H. Gaudet Middle School, Middletown
  • Veterans Memorial High School, Warwick
  • Chariho Regional School, Wood River Junction
  • South Kingstown High School, South Kingstown
  • Melrose Elementary School, Jamestown
  • As the storm continues to intensify, Shipman said people should be ready to evacuate if ordered, but for many residents in the state, sheltering at home will be the best plan. “What nobody wants is for you to be out on the roads at the height of the storm.”

    Shipman said that people should have basic supplies at home to last for at least three days:

  • First Aid kit
  • Non-perishable food (such as canned vegetables and fruit, energy bars, canned tuna)
  • Water for drinking and preparing food (one gallon per person per day)
  • Flashlight, radio and batteries
  • Shipman said these basics will help people who need to shelter-in-place for a period of time during and after the storm.

    If you are required to evacuate, Shipman suggested important items to bring to an evacuation shelter:

  • Pillows, bedding, sleeping bag or mat
  • Any prescriptions or maintenance medications you need on a regular basis
  • Toiletries and a change of clothes
  • If you are planning to leave your home, take copies of important documents, such as insurance policies and property records. “It can help in making claims in the wake of an emergency,” Shipman said.

    Do not forget pets in your planning. Have adequate food and water for pets as well. If you are leaving home, do not abandon your pets. Make sure family or friends outside the risk area are able to host you as well as your pets. If you are looking at hotels along an evacuation route, ask about their pet policies.

    Shipman said, If you are evacuating to a shelter, 211 Info Line is the best place for up-to-date information.

    Shipman said that information is a significant part of weathering the storm. Be sure that you have batteries for a portable radio and that you keep up with local news reports. Be sure that your mobile phones are fully charged in the event you lose power. “With those tools, you will be able to keep up with and share information,” Shipman said. He recommended the following steps that take advantage of mobile phones and email resources:

  • Tell out of town friends and family about checking www.Redcross.org/SafeandWell to find out the status of loved ones after the storm. People in storm affected areas can post a free message to assure others that they have come through the storm. Safe and Well is accessible online, on smartphones and by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. For Spanish, visit, www.sanoysalvo.org. People may also register in person at any Red Cross shelter.
  • Go to www.redcross.org/mobileapps to download the free Red Cross Hurricane App, which provides real-time alerts for locations you want to monitor and “before, during and after” preparedness tools. There are social media links to easily let loved ones know you are safe and well.
  • Shipman also thanked the many volunteers who are supporting the Red Cross response. “We have an amazing team of people who are helping their neighbors during this storm. Like the thousands of Red Cross workers helping in affected communities up and down the East Coast, these Rhode Island Red Cross workers have stepped forward and are staffing shelters, moving supplies, answering phones, preparing meals and planning for the help we will need to offer in the coming days. Their help is beyond value. We could not do this work as efficiently, as quickly, as compassionately without them.” Shipman urged people to consider becoming a Red Cross volunteer. “Join your neighbors who are already helping. Learn more at www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED CROSS.”

    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 or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.