Volunteers with the Illinois Red Cross are answering the call once more here at home and in communities impacted by devastating tornadoes that touched down this weekend across multiple states in the center of the country. Volunteers spent the weekend assessing damages and distributing emergency supplies, such as tarps to impacted residents in Cass and Fayette counties in Central and South Central Illinois.
Meanwhile, more than 100 trained Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground right now in Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri – and more than 200 are traveling to the most impacted areas, including 10 volunteers from the Illinois Region who are either on the ground or on their way to assist with relief efforts in Mayfield, Kentucky. Red Cross volunteers will be helping with sheltering, damage assessment, health services, including replacing prescription medications, eyeglasses or critical medical equipment, canes and wheelchairs to residents impacted.
Also, as part of the response to the devastating tornadoes, the Red Cross is supplying blood to hospitals in the affected areas. Here are ways in which you can help:
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The Red Cross has provided 200 additional blood products for patients in the affected areas. We remain in touch with our hospital partners throughout affected areas and stand ready to provide additional blood products as needed.
Prior to the tornado outbreak, the nation was already facing historically low blood supply challenges and more donors are needed to ensure a readily available blood supply. Red Cross blood drives in affected communities may be canceled or experience lower donor turnout in the coming days, further straining blood inventory levels.
Through its national inventory, the Red Cross can distribute blood whenever, wherever it is needed. Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency.
All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.
- Type O positive blood is the most transfused blood type.
- Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. It’s the blood type doctors turn to in an emergency situation when there is no time to match a patients’ blood type.
- Platelets must be transfused withing just five days after a donation is made. That’s why there’s a constant – and often critical – need for new and current donors to give to keep up with hospital demand.
YOU CAN ALSO HELP people affected by disasters like storms, home fires and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your donation is a commitment to helping people in need, and every single contribution matters, enabling the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
To make a financial donation or schedule an appointment to give blood or platelets, visit redcross.org or call 800-RED CROSS. You can also use the Red Cross Blood Donor app or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 gift today.
Local Volunteers Respond to Home Fires Across the Illinois Region
Red Cross volunteers with the Disaster Action Team were also at work responding to nearly 60 home fires across the Illinois Region from December 6 through today, including two fires at multi-family apartment buildings in Chicago and Keokuk, Iowa.
Our volunteers responded to 25 home fires in Bellwood, Mokena, Mundelein and more, with 15 of these incidents occurring in Chicago. The Red Cross assisted 67 individuals, including 44 adults and 23 children with temporary emergency housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about recovery planning. In addition, volunteers are assisting 29 families displaced by a multi-unit apartment fire in Chicago.
In this past week, Red Cross volunteers with the Red Cross Serving Central Illinois, responded to nine home fires in Granville, Peoria and more. Volunteers provided assistance to 21 people, including 11 adults and 10 children with temporary emergency housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about recovery planning.
Disaster Action Team members with the Red Cross of Northwest Illinois responded to five home fires in Belvidere, Freeport, Rockford and more in this past week. Red Cross volunteers helped 20 adults who were impacted by home fires. Red Cross volunteers provided assistance with temporary emergency housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about resources to help with their recovery.
Quad Cities/West Central Illinois
Volunteers with the Red Cross Serving the Quad Cities and West Central Illinois continue to assist residents impacted by a multi-unit apartment fire in Keokuk, Iowa. The fire impacted over 30 people. In addition, local volunteers six home fires in Bettendorf (Iowa), Davenport (Iowa), Payson (Illinois) and more in this past week. Our volunteers also helped 13 individuals, including 12 adults and one child with temporary emergency housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about resources to help with their recovery.
South Central Illinois
Volunteers with the Disaster Action Team were busy responding to 14 home fires in this past week across South Central Illinois. Red Cross volunteers helped 27 individuals , including 23 adults and four children with temporary emergency housing, health services, disaster mental health services, financial assistance and information about resources to help with their recovery.
If you or someone you know needs assistance after a home fire or local disaster, please call our dispatch line: 1-877-597-0747.
As the weather gets colder, we see an increase in home fires. Please visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family until everyone is able to escape in two minutes or less. Also, remember to test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure that they are functioning. Download our free Emergency app (search “American Red Cross” in app stores or go to redcross.org/apps). Children can also learn what to do during a home fire and other emergencies with free resources at redcross.org/YouthPrep.
About the American Red Cross of Illinois
The American Red Cross of Illinois serves 12.4 million people in 88 counties in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri including Adams, Bond, Boone, Brown, Bureau, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Cook, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, De Witt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Franklin, Fulton, Green, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jasper, Jefferson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, LaSalle, Lake, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, Marshall, Mason, McDonough, McHenry, McLean, Menard, Mercer, Montgomery, Morgan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Piatt, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Rock Island, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermillion, Warren, Washington, Whiteside, Will, Williamson Winnebago, Woodford. Iowa: Lee, Muscatine, Scott and Van Buren. Missouri: Clark, Lewis, Marion and Ralls. 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 us at Redcross.org/Illinois or visit us on Twitter @RedCrossIL.