From the LA American Red Cross:
Our thoughts are with all those impacted by this weekend’s devastating tornadoes and severe weather. The Red Cross is helping people in Arkansas and several other states by providing shelter, food, relief supplies, health and mental health services to those affected.
- More than 200 people spent Sunday night in shelters in Arkansas that were opened or supported by Red Cross workers. Red Cross emergency vehicles will be distributing food throughout the affected areas.
- If someone needs to find a shelter, they can contact their local Red Cross chapter or access the Red Cross shelter map which is updated every 30 minutes with shelter locations by address, city, state and/or zip code.
- This has been a deadly and devastating storm and Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath.
- The Red Cross also has shelters open in Oklahoma and is responding in northern Louisiana where flooding occurred after yesterday’s storms. Shelter and services also are being provided in North Carolina, which was hit Fridaynight by tornadoes.
- The Red Cross will be on the ground in these affected areas for weeks to help people get back on their feet.
Additional severe weather is possible in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee on Monday (today). Red Cross chapters are preparing to respond if needed and people in the path of the storm should also get prepared by downloading the Red Cross tornado app.
- People can use the app’s “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know they are okay and find the location of Red Cross shelters.
- The app also features a high-pitched siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or been cancelled.
- The Red Cross sent out 2.1 million severe weather notifications over the weekend through its tornado app for tornado and thunderstorm watches and warnings.
- Red Cross chapters in areas where severe weather is predicted today are preparing to respond if needed by readying shelters, supplies and volunteers.
People in Arkansas are dealing with the aftermath of tornadoes and severe weather is indicated for residents of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee today. There are safety steps they should follow:
- After a tornado, people should return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so.
- Stay out of damaged buildings. Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and sturdy shoes.
- Avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines – immediately report them to the utility companies.
- If someone smells gas or hears a hissing noise, they should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department
- Use flashlights, not candles when examining buildings.
- If someone is in the path of these storms they should listen to local news or a NOAA weather radio to stay informed about any severe weather watches and warnings in their area.
- Know the community’s warning system.
- Pick a place where family members can gather – the basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
- Keep animals under control.
- In a high-rise building, pick a place in a hallway in the center of the building.
- Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
The Red Cross provided several units of type O negative blood to two hospitals in Arkansas before the storm and supplied 40 units of plasma this morning to help treat those who were injured. The hospitals say they have a sufficient blood supply to handle the situation at this point. The Red Cross stands ready to assist with any additional blood needs.