The American Red Cross Opening a Shelter Following Tornadoes

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In the days and weeks to come, the Red Cross will be coordinating with emergency officials and local community partners to help residents impacted by tonight’s tornadoes get back on their feet

OMAHA, NEB., Sunday, May 11, 2014 – The American Red Cross is on the scene in hard hit Nebraska towns of Beaver Crossing and Cordova to help those affected by possible tornadoes and straight line winds. One emergency shelter will open beginning at 11:00 p.m. in Utica to help residents impacted by the storm by offering a safe place to stay, a hot meal, minor first aid, and a shoulder to lean on.

“In the days and weeks to come, the Red Cross will be coordinating with emergency officials and local community partners to help residents impacted by tonight’s tornadoes get back on their feet,” said Jill Orton, Region Disaster Officer. “The Red Cross will keep the shelter open as long as needed, in addition to providing mobile feeding and mental health support to those affected by the storm.”

24/7 Shelter:

1. Centennial High School

1301 Centennial Ave

Utica, NE 68456

(402) 534-2321

The Nebraska/SW Iowa Red Cross will be updating social media sites with the very latest information on where people can go for assistance, mobile feeding, shelter announcements, and how people can help.

The Red Cross offers the following tips for those in the affected area to stay safer:

• Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.

• Avoid damaged areas as your presence might hamper rescue and other emergency operations and put you at further risk from the residual effects of tornadoes.

• Stay out of damaged buildings.

• When it is safe to return home, 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.

• Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings. Avoid using candles.

• If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly. Turn off the gas using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.

• Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline, or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.

• Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.

• Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be kept clear for emergency calls to get through.

• Watch your animals closely. Keep all your animals under your direct control. Your pets may be able to escape from your home or through a broken fence. Pets may become disoriented, particularly because tornadoes and the heavy rains that accompany them will usually affect scent markers that normally allow animals to find their homes.

The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill our mission. To help disaster victims please contact the American Red Cross, 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 or join our blog at