(INDIANAPOLIS) – The American Red Cross is working around the clock to prepare for Hurricane Dorian and help people who have been forced to evacuate.
Currently, 28 Indiana Red Cross volunteers are in multiple states, as Hurricane Dorian makes landfall toward the U.S., southeastern coast. A key concern is that this is a slow-moving storm that could produce several days of dangerous weather. Residents in Florida and surrounding states, like Georgia and the Carolinas, should ensure they have their hurricane plan in place and are prepared for severe weather conditions, including strong winds, heavy rainfall and storm surge. While the exact path of Dorian is still uncertain, millions of people live in areas that could be impacted by wind, rain, flooding and a high storm surge, even if the storm doesn’t make direct landfall on the coast.
The Red Cross is coordinating with community partners and emergency responders to prepare evacuation centers as planning estimates indicate as many as 60,000 people in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina may need help. On Monday night, more than 12,200 people stayed in 171 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. This included nearly 11,700 people in 142 shelters in Florida; some 280 people in 10 Red Cross shelters in Georgia; and 290 people in 19 Red Cross shelters in South Carolina. To date, the Red Cross and community organizations have provided nearly 15,000 cumulative overnight stays for Hurricane Dorian.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD While the Red Cross does not typically collect and distribute blood in Florida, we have sent approximately 350 blood products to local blood centers there to ensure patients in need continue to have access to lifesaving blood. The Red Cross has also pre-positioned additional blood products and stocked many of our hospitals to capacity in areas of the Southeast likely to be impacted by the storm early next week.
HOW TO HELP Disaster relief involves complex responses and the Red Cross needs the public’s support to help the people affected. You can make a difference in the lives of people impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word DORIAN to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.
IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THE STORM Officials are warning that power, water, sewer and phone services could be disrupted for an extended time after landfall. The Red Cross urges these three steps: (1) build a disaster kit; (2) come up with an emergency plan; and (3) be informed about how local authorities will notify you, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels.
You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have real time information about the storm, open Red Cross shelter locations and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to www.redcross.org/apps. Following are safety steps you should take:
- Turn on your TV/radio or check your city/county website every 30 minutes in order to get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not drive around barricades, or through high water. Remember, if you encounter flooded roadways, turn around, don’t drown!
- Know how you’ll communicate with family members once the storm passes. You can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, text instead of calling because phone lines are often overloaded.
- Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Don’t forget to bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.
- Fill you car’s gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.
- Build an emergency kit that contains supplies for about three days, to include a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Other recommended items are available at redcross.org/kit. Remember items for young children such as diapers, and family members with special medical needs.
- Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan, and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost. Full details are available on redcross.org.
- Before the storm hits, find a place to store outside items such as lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.
- Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on the awnings.