Tornado Clean-up Continues in the South

Stay out of damaged buildings and go home only when authorities say it is safe.

While much of the country is focused on the Super Bowl, people in Georgia and Tennessee are spending the weekend recovering from the strong storms that affected much of the eastern half of the country earlier this week. The American Red Cross is providing those affected with food and shelter and assessing damage to determine what other help people need.

Hundreds of homes were damaged across the two states. In Tennessee, Red Cross disaster workers are working with local Emergency Management agencies and community partners to ensure people get the help they need. Damage was across a wide area of the state and the Red Cross is working with families affected, providing food and shelter, health and mental outreach, and casework to help those impacted plan their next steps.

The Red Cross in Georgia has shelters open for those impacted by this week’s tornadoes and flooding and is providing meals in the shelters as well as from emergency response vehicles in damaged neighborhoods. Damage assessment teams are out determining areas of need along the eight-mile path of destruction caused by this week’s tornadoes.

As the clean-up continues in the affected communities, the Red Cross has steps people should follow:

  • If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • 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.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Keep all of your animals under your direct control.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
  • People can visit for more information about what to do if a tornado threatens, or for more about what to after a tornado strikes, as well as safety information about many different emergencies and disaster situations. 

    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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.