In the weeks since the deadly tornados in Tennessee, American Red Cross disaster workers have worked around the clock to provide comfort and support to people in need.
Almost 580 trained disaster workers answered the call to help in Tennessee by providing more than 107,800 meals and snacks; distributing more than 39,400 relief items, like comfort kits, hygiene items, shovels, rakes, trash bags, work gloves and tarps; and providing more than 4,800 individual care contacts to support health, mental health and spiritual needs.
As affected communities begin to recover, emergency needs are declining. People who were staying in emergency shelters have met with Red Cross caseworkers to plan their next steps and move to more suitable accommodations. In coordination with partners, the Red Cross opened a total of 8 shelters and provided more than 1,300 overnight shelter stays.
In the coming days, we will continue working with local and state officials to determine what additional help is needed. It’s important to note that the Red Cross was in these communities before this disaster, and we will remain there, responding to home fires and future storms, and helping residents build more resilient communities.
The Red Cross is providing immediate financial assistance to help meet the disaster-caused needs for those whose Tennessee homes sustained major damage or were destroyed by the recent tornadoes. Registration will be open through March 26 and is available by calling 1-800-RED CROSS. The Red Cross will also be reaching out directly over the phone in the coming days, to those who have already registered for assistance through partner programs or have been determined as eligible through Red Cross damage assessment.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
You can help people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Please click, text or call to donate to the Red Cross. Your gift is a commitment to helping people affected by disasters big and small. Every single donation will make a difference in someone’s life.
Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
For those interested in helping people specifically affected by the recent storms, we ask that they write “Southern Tornadoes and Floods” in the memo line of a check and mail it to their local Red Cross chapter with the completed the donation form at redcross.org/donate.
As people begin to deal with the aftermath of the tornadoes, the Red Cross reminds them they should return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should also:
- Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwaters.
- If you have children, leave them with a relative or friend while you conduct the first inspection of your home after the disaster.
- Check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks, missing support beams and other damage. Ask a building inspector or contractor to check the structure before you enter.
- If power lines are down outside your home, don't step in puddles or standing water. Report them immediately to the power company.
- Don't cut or walk past colored tape that was placed over doors or windows to mark damaged areas, unless you've been told that it is safe to do so. If a building inspector has placed a color-coded sign on the home, don't enter until you get more information, advice and instructions from your local authorities.
- If the power is out, use a flashlight. Don't use any candles or open flames for lighting.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get far away from it. Call the fire department after you reach safety.
- If any gas or electrical appliances were flooded, don't use them until they have been professionally checked for safety.
- Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots. Be cautious when cleaning up.
DOWNLOAD APPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.