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.
Download helpful emergency apps from the American Red Cross HERE (Android) including the Earthquake App on ANDROID and IPHONE.
THE AMERICAN RED CROSS EARTHQUAKE APP DESCRIPTION:
- Be ready for an earthquake with Earthquake by American Red Cross. Get notified when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out – a must have for anyone who lives in an earthquake-prone area or has loved ones who do.FEATURES:
•Step-by-step instructions let you know what to do even before/during/after an earthquake, even if no data connectivity.
•Get notified when an earthquake occurs; see the intensity impact to your area or those of loved-ones with notifications generated by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
•Let family and friends know you are okay with the customizable “I’m Safe” alert for Facebook, Twitter, email and text.
•Find open Red Cross shelters in your area when you need help.
•Stay safe when the lights are out with the Toolkit, including a strobe light, flashlight and audible alert functions.
•Prepare for the worst by learning how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of power outage or evacuation.
•Empower your family to stay safe and remain calm in an emergency by learning how to make and practice an emergency plan.
•Earn badges that you can share with your friends and show off your hurricane knowledge with interactive quizzes.
•See an illustrated history of earthquakes in your area.
•Know how to what to do about food and drinking water when your area has been impacted by floods and power outages.
The following is from the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region Communications Department.
Here is the latest update on the Red Cross’ response to this week’s storm activity:
The first of two storms is steadily pressing into our area, bringing moderate rainfall across Southern California today. A more powerful storm is expected to arrive late tonight into Friday morning with the potential to deliver heavy rain and thunderstorms. The strong system may dump as much as 3 inches of rain in the Los Angeles Metro area and between 3 and 6 inches in the valleys and Inland Empire. In the local mountains, the storm is expected to bring between 1 and 2 feet of snow, and potentially as much as 3 feet in the highest elevations. With these heavy rains many recently burned areas are threatened with flooding or mudslides.
Voluntary evacuations are already in effect in Azusa and Glendora and mandatory evacuations will be ordered in Glendora at 12:00pm today. In response, there are relief supplies and dozens of volunteers on stand-by including shelter staffing, EOC leadership, ERV Teams, Government Liaisons and Public Affairs.
Currently an evacuation center is open in Glendora (Crowther Center at 241 W. Dawson Avenue) and is being managed by their Community Services Department. Red Cross is on stand-by to assist when requested.
Here are some safety steps people should follow if the storm threatens their community:
DRIVING SAFETY TIPS
- Make sure to check your car tires and wipers to see if they are functioning safely.
- Have extra clothes and a Disaster Supplies Kit in your trunk. Pack high-protein snacks, water, first aid kit, flashlight, small battery-operated radio, an emergency contact card with names and phone numbers, extra prescription medications, blankets and important documents or information you may need.
- Fill the vehicle’s gas tank and clean the lights and windows to help you see.
- Find out what disasters may occur where you are traveling and pay attention to the weather forecast. Before you leave, let someone know where you are going, the route you plan to take, and when you expect to get there. If your car gets stuck, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
- If you have to drive, make sure everyone has their seat belts on and give your full attention to the road. Avoid distractions such as cell phones.
- Don’t follow other vehicles too closely. Sudden stops are difficult on wet roadways.
- Don’t use cruise control when driving in winter weather.
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
- When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
- If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your public works, fire or police department.
- Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
- If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
- Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.
- If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you.
- Consider a precautionary evacuation of large or numerous animals as soon as you are aware of impending danger.
DURING SEVERE STORMS
- Stay alert and awake. Many deaths from landslides occur while people are sleeping.
- Listen to local news stations on a battery-powered radio for warnings of heavy rainfall.
- Consider leaving if it is safe to do so.
For the latest updates on the storm, visit redcrossla.org, or follow them on Twitter @redcrossla or www.facebook.com/redcrossla.