American Red Cross on the Gulf Coast: Storms Coming and Going
Hurricane Dolly Effects Linger as Tropical Storm Edouard Approaches
WASHINGTON, Monday, August 2008 — Hurricane season is in full swing, with Tropical Storm Edouard churning in the Gulf of Mexico and Hurricane Dolly having just left. As some Red Cross workers continue to provide for the needs of people whose homes were flooded and damaged by winds from Hurricane Dolly; others are being dispatched to prepare for potential hurricane conditions along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas.
With more than 1 million meals and snacks served and nearly 5,000 overnight stays in Red Cross shelters for victims of Hurricane Dolly, Red Cross services are vital to recovery efforts. At the same time that residents stranded by Dolly remain in Red Cross shelters, preparation activities must continue for Tropical Storm Edouard. Routes used to transport Red Cross people and supplies, including food, cots, blankets and cleanup kits, are well-traveled in Texas and Louisiana because several storms threaten the coast each year.
Residents are being urged to prepare for high winds, flooding and widespread power outages along the coasts of Louisiana and Texas. This area was affected by Hurricane Rita during the historic 2005 hurricane season, so people in threatened areas know how to prepare for Tropical Storm Edouard. The Red Cross offers the following reminders:
* Monitor media reports. Watch TV, listen to AM/FM or NOAA weather radio and check the Internet for updates.
* Review or develop a family communication plan so you will know how to contact each other and where to meet. Identify an out-of-area contact person that family members and friends can call if you are separated from one another.
* Register with the Red Cross Safe and Well Web site. If you are affected by a disaster, this public site provides a way for you to register yourself and communicate your well-being to your family members. You can input information directly or via phone. The site is accessible via www.redcross.org.
* Update or create your disaster supplies kit. Your kit should have the following items: 3-day supply of water (1 gallon per person, per day), nonperishable food, manual can opener, flashlight, battery-operated or crank radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, prescription and non-prescription medications, cash, and copies of important documents such as bank account numbers, social security card, driver’s license and insurance policies.
* Prepare your home. Bring inside: bicycles, lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants, outdoor decorations or ornaments, or anything else that can be carried by the wind. Close windows and doors, then close hurricane shutters or cover windows with plywood.
* Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flooded road, 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. The floodwaters may still be rising and the car could be swept away at any moment.
* Plan your evacuation route. Use local maps and identify alternate evacuation routes from home, work and/or school. Know where you are going and how you plan to get there before you leave home.
* Evacuate immediately if advised to do so. Follow the direction of local authorities on which routes to take, which evacuation shelters to seek and other important advice.
* Take your pets with you. If it is not safe for you, it is not safe for them. Red Cross emergency shelters cannot accept pets unless they are service animals. Prepare a list of family, friends, pet-friendly motels and boarding facilities that could shelter your animals.
Large numbers of people and supplies are needed to provide both disaster response and disaster preparation for the continuous storms that affect the US. The American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund allows the Red Cross to provide free, immediate assistance to victims of disasters. Despite the fact that our Disaster Relief Fund is low, the Red Cross will not cut back on the level of services we provide. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
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