FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017 – As Cindy leaves Louisiana, many areas continue to feel the impact of the past several days of severe weather. High winds and flooding from heavy rain and storm surges have affected families and communities across the state, and the Red Cross remains on alert to respond to the developing needs of our region.
“Just because the storm has passed does not mean the threat is gone,” says Joshua Joachim, regional chief executive for the Louisiana Red Cross. “The Red Cross, along with state and community partners, continue to assess the damage carried out by Tropical Storm Cindy, and provide assistance to those in need.”
Though the unlikely June event was not as severe as forecast, Cindy serves as an early reminder of the importance of being prepared at all times during hurricane season.
“We still have five long months ahead of us this hurricane season, with the historically most active months just around the corner,” Joachim says. “Experts are projecting 2017 to be busier than usual, meaning now is time to replenish your emergency kit supplies and coordinate your evacuation plans with loved ones.”
Below are some post-storm safety tips and hurricane season preparedness actions the Red Cross recommends everyone to consider.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A SEVERE WEATER EVENT
As residents begin to clean up, the Red Cross encourages people to remember the following safety tips:
• Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
• Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
• Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
• Stay out of damaged buildings.
• Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.
• If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
• Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
• Keep all your animals under your direct control.
Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
Maintain your preparedness and encourage it of your friends, neighbors and loved ones:
• Download the free Red Cross Emergency App, which provides tips on how to stay safe before, during and after a hurricane and also provides emergency alerts and other tools. Talk with your family about what to do. Discussing severe weather ahead of time helps reduce fear, particularly for younger children. http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/hurricane
• Find out where they will get information on when and where to evacuate, especially if they aren’t familiar with evacuation routes and procedures.
• The Red Cross works closely with local government officials to make decisions about where and when to open shelters. If you plan to come to a Red Cross shelter, bring the following items for each member of your family: prescription and emergency medication, medical supplies, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. Additionally, bring special items for children and infants, such as diapers, formulas and toys, along with other items for family members who may have other needs.
• Set up your emergency communications plan with them NOW. How will you get in touch and know they're safe if phone lines and cell towers go down?
• Ensure they have an emergency kit with supplies for at least 3 days, including non-perishable food, a gallon of water per person per day, medications, important documents, clothing, a flashlight, a crank radio, extra cash, back-up chargers for phones, emergency contact information written out, etc. Find a full list here: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family
• Prepare a pet emergency kit for your companion animals.
• Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged if a tropical system causes flooding. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you on your house or car keys.
• Make sure you have flood insurance; remember, standard home owners insurance does not cover flooding.
The American Red Cross of Louisiana is fortunate to have volunteers who are trained, ready and willing to support our neighbors facing disasters, though additional teammates are needed. The Red Cross encourages individuals and community groups who are willing to serve to register now to become new volunteers to help with future disaster responses and receive advanced training. Learn more and register onlineat redcross.org/volunteer and complete the online application.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people.
Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to American 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/donate, or call 1-800-REDCROSS. Financial gifts may also be sent to your local Red Cross chapter.
For more updates, follow the Louisiana Region of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @ARCLouisiana. You can also contact the region at redcross.org/Louisiana or call 1-800-256-4733 or 1-800-REDCROSS.
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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.