The American Red Cross is on the ground across several states after as many as 60 tornadoes hit neighborhoods in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama this week.
The severe weather threat isn’t over yet. Strong storms are predicted for parts of Florida, Alabama and Georgia from the same weather system with a threat of strong winds, hail and possible tornadoes.
The Red Cross is helping people impacted by the storms and standing by to respond in other areas as the storm moves to the east.
Trained Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma helping with damage assessment after yesterday’s tornadoes. Disaster teams in states to the east of the area are preparing to respond if necessary. The Red Cross is working with officials throughout the southeast to provide shelter and emergency supplies for people and communities as needed.
Here are Red Cross safety steps people should follow:
TORNADO SAFETY Know the difference between a tornado watch and warning. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon.
- Know your community’s warning system, for example many areas use outdoor sirens.
- Watch for tornado danger signs: dark and greenish clouds, a wall cloud or cloud of debris.
- Bring your pets indoors and keep an eye on them.
- If you have time, move or secure outside items that can be picked up by wind.
- During a tornado warning, go to your safe place immediately — a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. In a high-rise, pick a hallway in the center of the building.
- If you live in a mobile home, find a safe place in a nearby sturdy building or vehicle. No mobile home is safe in a tornado.
- If you’re outside, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
- If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter, immediately get in a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Remember to buckle your seatbelt. Stay away from bridges or highway overpasses. If strong winds and flying debris occur while driving, pull over and park. Keep your seatbelt on and the engine running. Put your head down below the windows and cover your head with your hands and a blanket.
RETURNING HOME SAFELY As people begin to deal with the aftermath of yesterday’s tornadoes, the Red Cross reminds them to return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should also:
- Stay out of damaged buildings. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes.
- Avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines - immediately report them to the utility companies.
- If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department.
- Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings.
THUNDERSTORM SAFETY Watch for storm signs, such as darkening skies, lightning flashes and increasing wind.
- If thunder roars, go indoors. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger of lightning.
- Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are likely to occur. Many people struck by lightning aren’t in the area where it’s raining.
- Take shelter in a substantial building or vehicle with the windows closed.
- If you are driving, try to safely exit the road and park.
- If you’re outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall or isolated trees and metal objects, such as fences and bleachers.
- If someone has been struck by lightning, call 911.
You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency app to have severe weather safety information right at your fingertips. The Emergency app provides real-time weather alerts and tips on how to stay safe during severe weather and countless other emergencies. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps.
CORPORATIONS, FOUNDATIONS 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 $1 Million members are: Amazon; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; The Home Depot Foundation; Latter-day Saint Charities; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PetSmart Charities; The Starbucks Foundation; State Farm; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Truist Foundation; VSP Global; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; Aon; Best Buy; Calmoseptine, Inc.; Capital One; Citi; The Clorox Company; Darden Foundation; Delta Dental Community Care Foundation; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company Fund; Fox Corporation; General Motors; HCA Healthcare; 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; PayPal; 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.
Disaster Responder Program members are: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; Alliance Data; American Express; Ameriprise Financial, Inc.; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; Barclays; Big 5 Sporting Goods; CarMax; Choice Hotels International; Cisco Foundation; CNA Insurance; The Coca-Cola Company; CSX; The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Discover; Dollar General; Duke Energy; Dutch Bros Foundation; Equitable; FirstEnergy Corporation; Gopuff; Grainger; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Humble Bundle; Kaiser Permanente; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; The Labcorp Charitable Foundation; Lenovo Foundation; LHC Group; Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc.; Martin Marietta; Mattress Firm; McKesson; MetLife Foundation; Neiman Marcus Group; NextEra Energy, Inc.; Northrop Grumman; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Old Dominion Freight Line; Pacific Life Foundation; Procter & Gamble; Prudential Financial; Raytheon Technologies; Reckitt; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Project; Ross Stores Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; ServiceNow, Inc.; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consultancy Services; U-Haul International; and U.S. Bank Foundation.