Media Contact: Cynthia Shaw
Phone: (408) 666-6857
American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Sending Volunteers to East Coast
Red Cross Opening Shelters, Mobilizing Equipment as Hurricane Irene Heads Toward East Coast
Friday, August 26, 2019 –SAN FRANCISCO, CA--The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter has deployed three trained local disaster volunteers from San Mateo, Solano and Alameda Counties to areas in Virginia, New York and North Carolina to help with disaster response. One of those deployed is American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter Chief Executive Officer Harold Brooks who will be working in Virginia with chapters there.
"It is an honor to be a part of the relief operation that brings comfort to those affected by disaster," said Harold Brooks, CEO of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter this morning from the East Coast. "Because of our extensive local volunteer training and response practices, the Red Cross can come together from different locales across the country, with many kinds of expertise, to quickly helps those in need.
As members of the American Red Cross Disaster Services Human Resources (DSHR) System, these local residents are ready to leave home on short notice (within 24 hours) for 3-week assignments on large-scale disaster relief operations anywhere in the country. These volunteers are highly trained through our local Red Cross Chapter in a specialized area of disaster relief, and many have extensive experience in Red Cross disaster relief operations in our local community and throughout the United States.
More volunteers will surely follow if the storm is as “historic” as President Obama said the storm is predicted to be in a national address he made Friday morning. The Red Cross is urging people to listen to evacuation orders issued by state and local government.
The American Red Cross is ready for a full disaster response already opening emergency shelters in North Carolina. Irene could potentially cause billions of dollars in damage all along a densely populated area that includes Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and beyond. At least 65 million people are in its projected track.
Response at a Glance
Hurricane Irene is a category 3 storm and could affect a large swath of the East Coast this weekend with wind and heavy rain. Trained Red Cross disaster relief workers and relief supplies are mobilizing for a full East Coast response. About 200 mobile feeding vehicles are already moving towards North Carolina and Virginia where Irene is predicted to make the first U.S. landfall. Dozens of additional shelters are being prepared up the East Coast. Open Red Cross shelters can be found on an interactive Google map at redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross shelter app for your iphone.
Steps to Prepare
The Red Cross has several tools available with which people in potential hurricane evacuation areas should become familiar.
- The Red Cross Safe and Well website enables people to let loved ones know what their situation is due to the hurricane.
- People can also access www.redcross.org/safeandwell on a smart phone, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
- Facebook and Twitter status also can be updated through the Safe and Well site.
- People should also download the free Red Cross shelter finder app in the Apple iTunes store.
- The “S.O.S. by the American Red Cross” app is free on the Android Marketplace and provides real-time instructions including how to perform Hands-Only CPR and how to help someone who is choking.
A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions could threaten the area within 48 hours, with a hurricane warning meaning that hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Those in the affected area should finish their storm preparations and leave the area if authorities ask them to do so.
The Red Cross urges people to take steps as the storm approaches to help ensure their safety and the safety of their loved ones. They include:
- Get a three-day supply of water ready for each person on hand, along with food that doesn’t require refrigeration, flashlights, a battery-operated radio and a first aid kit.
- Plan routes to emergency shelters and register family members with special needs.
- Make plans for pets.
- Bring items inside that can be picked up by the wind.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings and keep them closed as much as possible so food will last longer if the power goes out.
- Turn off any propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
- Fill their vehicle’s gas tank.
- Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If hurricane shutters aren’t an option, close and board up windows and doors with plywood.
How the Community Can Help
Irene could affect blood collections along the East Coast at a time when the nation’s blood supply is already low. The Red Cross is urging those who are eligible to give blood prior to the storm’s arrival. Donating blood now, before the storm, will help ensure blood is available in the aftermath of Irene should conditions prohibit people from traveling to blood collections.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet height and weight requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height), and who are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit us online at www.redcrossblood.org
American Red Cross disaster preparedness starts long before a hurricane makes landfall, beginning with keeping supplies and equipment on stand-by all year to help people in need. On average, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year.
If someone would like to support Red Cross disaster efforts, they can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org
, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or sending contributions to their local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
About the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter:
As a community-based, humanitarian organization, the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter provides relief to those affected by disasters and empowers individuals in our community to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. By helping people in the Bay Area learn how to take care of their families and neighbors, the Red Cross strengthens the community and makes it ready for all types of disasters, including home fires, earthquakes, wildfires and health emergencies. Call 1-888-4-HELP-BAY or visit www.redcrossbayarea.org
to learn more.