The American Red Cross is working around the clock this holiday weekend to provide care and comfort to people after Hurricane Ida brought devastating storms and flooding from the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this past week.
Across Southeastern Pennsylvania, at least six tornados touched down in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties Wednesday evening, causing significant damage and power outages. The storm also brought 6-10 inches of rain across the five-county region, causing major flash flooding and record crests on several waterways.
Since Wednesday, the Red Cross has provided more than 125 shelter stays in Southeastern Pennsylvania and served hundreds of meals and snacks to those in need. As of Friday evening, shelters remain open at the following locations:
- Philadelphia: West Philadelphia High School – 4901 Chestnut St., Philadelphia
- Bucks County: Upper Bucks YMCA – 401 Fairview Ave., Quakertown
- Chester County: Coatesville High School – 1445 Lincoln Highway E., Coatesville
- Montgomery County: Norristown High School – 1900 Eagle Drive, Norristown
People whose homes are unlivable after the storm are encouraged to visit one of the Red Cross shelter locations listed above to check-in with a Red Cross disaster worker. They can also call 1-800-RED CROSS for assistance.
The Red Cross has also mobilized integrated condolence care teams to provide support to families who lost a loved one. Comprised of trained Red Cross volunteers specializing in mental health, health services and casework, these teams can help families cope and provide financial support if needed. Families are struggling to cope with the devastation left behind by Ida. Every single donation will make a difference in someone’s life. To help people affected by Hurricane Ida, visit redcross.org, call 1-800- RED CROSS, or text the word IDA to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Right now, more than 85 Red Cross disaster workers are focused on providing safe shelter, food and comfort to people who can’t return home. Red Cross teams are also working closely with local officials to help to assess the damage left behind and make plans for what support families may need in the coming days and weeks. In areas where are cleaning up, the Red Cross is distributing cleaning supplies like mops, bleach, buckets and trash bags. That work will continue throughout the Labor Day weekend.
Below are some safety tips for families that may be cleaning up this weekend or still dealing with power outages.
FLOOD CLEANUP SAFETY
- Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, when cleaning.
- Be careful when moving furnishings or debris, because they may be waterlogged and heavier.
- Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected. This includes mattresses, carpeting, cosmetics, stuffed animals and baby toys.
- Throw out all food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud. When in doubt, throw it out. This includes canned goods, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and containers with food or liquid that has been sealed shut.
POWER OUTAGE SAFETY
- Use flashlights in the dark — not candles.
- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will likely be congested.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and appliances. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light on, so you’ll know when power is restored.
- When inside your home, never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices. This also applies to your garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Keep these devices outside away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- Turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could catch fire.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator. Never plug a generator into a wall outlet.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or CruzRojaAmericana.org, or follow us on Twitter at @RedCross.