Red Cross Response Continues in Affected Miss. Counties

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Red Cross is focused on people’s emergency needs and has moved volunteers, equipment and supplies into affected communities, said Sandra Hodge, Mississippi Region CEO

HATTIESBURG, MS, TUESDAY, February 12, 2013—The American Red Cross continues response today in communities throughout Central and South Mississippi.

Disaster Action Teams (DAT) are on the ground in the affected counties. Red Cross is working with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and local emergency managers to continue damage assessment.

"Red Cross is focused on people’s emergency needs and has moved volunteers, equipment and supplies into affected communities," said Sandra Hodge, Mississippi Region CEO. "Red Cross is providing people with food, shelter and other supplies such as clean-up kits, blankets, flashlights, batteries, tarps, trash bags, work gloves, rakes and shovels."

Salvation Army is partnering with Red Cross for mobile and shelter feeding, and are on the move serving meals and distributing relief items. Emergency Aid Stations were setup today in Petal and Hattiesburg distributing food, water and emergency supplies, and providing health services and emotional support. Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) are in affected communities delivering bulk distribution items.

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. The following shelters are open.

•Forrest County 361 Shelter on Sullivan Road off Hwy. 49 South in Hattiesburg, Forrest County

•Petal Civic Center located at 712 South Main Street in Petal, Forrest County

•Lamar County Community Center at 99 Central Industrial Road in Purvis, Lamar County

•Indian Springs Baptist Church, 500 Indian Springs Church Road, Laurel, Jones County

Nearly 100 trained Red Cross disaster workers are providing emotional support, food, water and emergency supplies like cleanup kits and comfort kits to people in need.

Anyone seeking assistance with disaster-related needs, should contact their 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.

If someone would like to help people affected by emergencies like yesterday's storms, they can visit www.mississippi-redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Your gift enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected. Contributions may also be sent to your local Red Cross Office.

Those affected can let loved ones know they are safe by registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website. The site is secure and people can register by visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. This site also connects with the Twitter and Facebook accounts of users.

As people return home to begin the clean-up, Red Cross has several safety steps that should be followed.

•If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.

•Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.

•Stay out of damaged buildings.

•Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.

•Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.

•If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.

•Keep all of your animals under your direct control.

•Download “Picking up the Pieces after a Disaster” PDF as an additional resource: http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m7540319_picking-up-the-pieces-A5076.pdf

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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.

Caption for Attached Photo: The American Red Cross Hattiesburg Office was destroyed during the February 10 Hattiesburg tornado. No volunteers or staff were injured, and the office relocated during the night to open today to meet the immediate, disaster-caused needs of those in affected communities. Photo Credit: American Red Cross/Steve Coleman