The American Red Cross is helping people in Texas after tornadoes ripped through parts of the Lone Star state, destroying homes and leaving more than 25,000 people without power.
The storms caused heavy damage in several Texas counties, the worst in Hood County in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where more than 100 homes are destroyed or heavily damaged. The Red Cross opened shelters and will be providing food, water and supplies throughout the affected area as well as health services and emotional support.
Red Cross chapters in Colorado are monitoring requests for support workers and media will be notified if local residents deploy to support the Red Cross response in Texas.
“In light of last night’s tragic tornadoes in Texas and in commemoration of the one-year anniversary of the Joplin tornado on May 22, we encourage Coloradans keep the families affected in your thoughts and take a moment to prepare yourself and your loved ones should a tornado strike here,” said Gino Greco, CEO of the Red Cross Mile High Region. “It only takes a few minutes to download our free preparedness app and review simple steps that could save your life.”
According to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, “Compared with other States, Colorado ranks number 9 for frequency of Tornados, 38 for number of deaths, 31 for injuries and 30 for cost of damage.” The Red Cross encourages Colorado residents to learn what to do in the event of a tornado and how to prepare in advance. Find information at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/tornado.
The Red Cross offers a free Tornado App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in, visit or have loved ones in tornado-prone areas.
This free app—available in English or Spanish—gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone and tablet users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a tornado. The app includes a high-pitched siren and “tornado warning!” alert that signals people when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued in their area – even if the app is closed. An “all clear!” alert lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been cancelled.
“Tornadoes often happen in the overnight hours when people are sleeping,” Greco said. “The audible alerts in this app can save lives - even if users can’t monitor the weather because they are away from radio, TV or in places where weather band radios may not work.”
Other features of the app include:
• Location-based NOAA tornado, severe thunderstorm and flood watch and warning alerts;
• Enhanced weather maps and information provided by Weather Underground, a digital brand of The Weather Company;
• One-touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends that they are out of harm’s way;
• Simple steps and checklists people can use to create an emergency plan and share it with household members;
• Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
• Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm;
• Locations of open Red Cross shelters; and
• Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.
The Tornado App, along with the others, can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps. Apps can help prepare people for disasters, but they are not a substitute for training. Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training empowers people to know how to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed. People can visit www.redcross.org/take-a-class for course information and to register.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and we help people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these apps for free. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.
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 blog.redcross.org.