As Californians continue cleaning up after the weeks of severe weather at the beginning of January, the American Red Cross is helping and will also be there in the days and weeks to come, supporting people as they recover from the storms.
RED CROSS RESPONSE More than 800 trained Red Cross disaster workers are supporting people in California.
The Red Cross and partners have provided more than 9,300 stays in more than 80 shelters, more than 63,100 meals and snacks, and distributed more than 14,700 relief items such as comfort kits and other relief supplies.
Trained Red Cross volunteers are helping families cope during this challenging time and replacing prescription medications, eyeglasses or critical medical equipment like canes and wheelchairs.
Teams on the ground are also conducting damage assessments to determine the impact of these storms and which communities will need additional support moving forward. Preliminary damage reports indicate that of the 5,935 total assessments done to date, 139 homes were either destroyed or suffered major damage.
In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, the Red Cross helps to meet the urgent needs of those affected and focuses on providing safe shelter, food, emotional support, first aid and health services. Even as we are delivering this assistance, we’re thinking about the future and planning how to help affected communities and families recover in the months and years ahead. However, right now, it’s too early to know what types of assistance we will provide to help families recover.
The Red Cross works with government agencies like FEMA to provide help after disasters. We encourage people affected by these storms to apply for federal Disaster Assistance at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362 (TTY 1-200-462-7585). You may be eligible for a variety of support including financial or housing assistance.
YOU CAN HELP people affected by disasters like floods, fires and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift is a commitment to helping people in need, and every single donation matters. Donations for Disaster Relief enable 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 storms and floods in California, we ask that they write “California storms & floods” in the memo line of a check and mail it to their local Red Cross chapter with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter. Find the donation form here.
RETURNING HOME After a disaster, don’t return home until 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 when you first inspect your home after a 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.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get faraway. 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.
- If the power is out, use a flashlight. Don’t use candles or open flames for lighting. 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.
- Be cautious when cleaning up, and wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and boots. Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected. This includes mattresses, carpeting, cosmetics, stuffed animals and toys.
- Discard all food, beverages and medicine exposed to floodwaters and mud. This includes canned goods, plastic utensils, baby bottles and sealed containers with food or liquid. When in doubt, throw it out.
DOWNLOAD the free Red Cross First Aid app so you’ll know what to do if emergency help is delayed and the free Emergency app for weather alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and safety steps for different emergencies. Choose whether you want to view the content in English or Spanish with an easy-to-find language selector. Find these and all of the Red Cross apps in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
COPING TIPS Californians have experienced numerous events since the start of the year. This is a difficult time for everyone and it’s important for people to connect with and support each other.
- These events can cause feelings of uncertainty and anxiety since no one knows what could potentially happen next. Remember that it's okay to feel nervous.
- Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety.
- Stay informed but limit media exposure of the events.
- Spend more time with family and friends, watch for signs of stress, offer your support, and listen to one another.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink water and get enough rest.
- If you or a loved one needs help, reach out through the Disaster Distress Helpline for free 24/7 support by calling 800-985-5990 or texting TALKWITHUS to 66746.
Children can also be affected by these events and, just like adults, their reactions can vary. How a child reacts will depend on their age, previous experiences and how they typically cope with stress.
- Children may also react, in part, to what they see from the adults around them. When parents respond calmly and confidently, they can provide better support.
- Parents should let children talk about their fears and reassure them about their safety. Talk with them in ways that they can easily understand. Let them guide the conversation; share details only when they ask about them.
- Limit exposure to news coverage of the event as children are especially vulnerable to stress reactions related to media.
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; 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; 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 Foundation; CSX; DHL Supply Chain; The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Discover; Duke Energy; Dutch Bros Foundation; Equitable; FirstEnergy Corporation; 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; LKQ; 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; Organon; 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.; Santander; 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.