The American Red Cross is preparing for a large relief effort across multiple states as Hurricane Florence continues its march toward the East Coast. This is a dangerous storm predicted to grow even stronger and the Red Cross urges people in its path to obey evacuation orders and get ready now.
The Red Cross is preparing to help as many as 100,000 people in the affected areas and is working with state and local officials to identify and prepare evacuation shelters. More than 700 disaster workers are in route to the region to help.
Between Hurricanes Florence and Olivia, over a dozen local Red Cross volunteers have already deployed to assist with relief efforts. These volunteers will assist with feeding, sheltering, logistics and more at various emergency shelters.
The Red Cross is also deploying vehicles, equipment and relief supplies and will continue to do so until it is no longer safe to travel.
As the storm passes, the Red Cross is preparing to provide shelter for tens of thousands of people until they can return home or find other places to stay.
HOW YOU CAN HELP The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting redcross.org, calling 1- 800-RED CROSS or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
The Red Cross honors donor intent. Donors can designate their donation to Hurricane Florence relief efforts by choosing that option when donating on redcross.org or on 1-800-RED CROSS. The best way to ensure your donation will go to a specific disaster is to write the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check. We also recommend completing and mailing the donation form on redcross.org with your check.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The Red Cross has pre-positioned additional blood products and stocked many of our hospitals to capacity in areas of the Southeast likely to be impacted by the storm over the upcoming days. We are prepared to send more blood products to ensure patient needs continue to be met. Ahead of the storm, Red Cross Blood Services employees are also preparing facilities and equipment in case of power outages by ensuring back-up generators are working properly and vehicles are fueled.
We encourage eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by the storm to give blood or platelets to help ensure a sufficient blood supply. Some Red Cross blood drives have already been cancelled and additional cancellations are expected in the Southeast in the days ahead. Platelet and type O blood donations are especially needed right now. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
HURRICANE FLORENCE PREPAREDNESS INFORMATION
Officials are warning that power, water, sewer and phone services could be disrupted for an extended time after landfall. The Red Cross urges these three steps: (1) build a disaster kit; (2) come up with an emergency plan; and (3) be informed about how local authorities will notify you, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels.
You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have real time information about the storm, open Red Cross shelter locations and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. Following are safety steps you should take:
- Turn on your TV/radio, or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not drive around barricades, or through high water. Remember, if you encounter flooded roadways, turn around, don’t drown!
- Know how you’ll communicate with family members once the storm passes. You can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, text instead of calling because phone lines are often overloaded.
- Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Don’t forget to bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.
- Fill your car's gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.
- Build an emergency kit that contains supplies for about three days, to include a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Other recommended items are available at redcross.org/kit. Remember items for young children such as diapers, and family members with special medical needs.
- Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan, and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost. Full details are available on redcross.org.
- Before the storm hits, find a place to store outside items such as lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.
- Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on the awnings.
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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.