Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by last night’s tornadoes that touched down across parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
As many as 18 tornadoes ripped across the three states in the dark of night and that number could go up as experts study the situation. Initial reports show that some communities have suffered significant damage with homes and buildings destroyed and thousands of people left without power.
This morning, the American Red Cross has teams mobilizing across multiple states to assess the extent of damage and the needs of impacted communities with the support of local emergency management. This is still an evolving situation and, in some areas, search and rescue is ongoing.
The Red Cross encourages those still in the path of these storms to stay weather aware through their local National Weather Service offices. For a list of current Red Cross shelters, download the Red Cross Emergency App or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767).
YOU CAN HELP people affected by disasters like storms and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767), or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
CONNECT WITH A LOVED ONE If you are unable to locate someone who has been impacted by the storms, call during off-peak hours for the best chance of getting through. Send a text message, which may go through when phone calls cannot. You can also check your loved one’s social media pages or send an email. Call friends and relatives who may have already been in contact with your loved one or call people and places where your loved one is well-known; neighbors, employer, school, place of worship, senior center, social club/center, union or fraternal organization.
If your missing loved one is elderly, has a functional or access needs, suffers from a medical or mental condition or has difficulty understanding the English language, you can reach out to your local Red Cross for assistance. If you lived with your missing loved one in the same home prior to the disaster but became separated, or they are a member of the military community, you can also reach out to your local Red Cross chapter.
AFTER A TORNADO (More tornado safety information available here.) Return to your neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so.
- 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 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 YOUR POWER IS OUT (More power outage safety information can be found here.). There are ways that you can minimize loss and keep everyone as comfortable as possible.
- Use flashlights in the dark — not candles.
- Don’t drive unless necessary. Traffic lights will be out, and roads could be congested.
- Turn off and unplug any appliances, equipment and electronics. When the power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light on, so you’ll know when power is restored.
If a power outage is two hours or less, don’t be concerned about losing perishable foods. During a prolonged outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food.
- Use perishable food from the refrigerator first. Then, use food from the freezer.
- Perishable food is safe to eat when it has a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- If the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep food in a dry, cool spot and cover it at all times.
If you are using a generator, keep it dry and don’t use it in wet conditions.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement or other partially enclosed area. Keep this equipment outside and away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- Operate the generator on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up by poles. Don’t touch a generator with wet hands.
- Turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could catch fire.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
CORPORATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1M Members:
Amazon; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Bank of America; Best Buy; Caterpillar Foundation; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Elevance Health Foundation; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; McDonald’s Corporation; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PayPal; PetSmart Charities; The Starbucks Foundation; State Farm; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Truist Foundation; VSP Vision; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
ADGP $500K Members:
Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Bread Financial; Calmoseptine, Inc.; Capital One; CarMax; Citi Foundation; The Clorox Company; Darden Foundation; Delta Dental; Dollar General; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company Fund; Fox Corporation; General Motors; Google.org; The Home Depot Foundation; International Paper; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; The Kroger Co. Foundation; Liberty Mutual Insurance; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Mastercard; Merck; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; Organon; PepsiCo Foundation; Salesforce; Southeastern Grocers Gives Foundation & Southeastern Grocers, home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie; Stanley Black & Decker; Target; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Toyota; United Airlines; UPS; USAA; Visa Foundation; The Walt Disney Company; and The Wawa Foundation.
ADGP $250K Members:
7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; The AES Corporation; Ameriprise Financial; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; Barclays; Big 5 Sporting Goods; CDW; Choice Hotels International; Cisco Foundation; CNA Insurance; The Coca-Cola Company; CSX; The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Discover; Duke Energy; Dutch Bros Foundation; Equitable; FirstEnergy Corporation; Gopuff; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; HCA Healthcare; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Kaiser Permanente; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; The Labcorp Charitable Foundation; Lenovo Foundation; LHC Group; Major League Baseball; Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc.; Martin Marietta; Mattress Firm; McKesson Foundation; MetLife Foundation; Neiman Marcus Group; NextEra Energy, Inc.; Northrop Grumman; Northwestern Mutual; Old Dominion Freight Line; Pacific Life Foundation; Procter & Gamble; Prudential; Raytheon Technologies; Reckitt; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Project, a project of New Venture Fund; Ross Stores Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; ServiceNow; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consultancy Services; U-Haul International; U.S. Bank Foundation; and Zurich.