Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Strong Storm System Moves East; Red Cross Issues Safety Steps

Local Volunteers Flying into Affected Areas

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — The strong storm system that has caused devastating tornadoes in the South and Midwest is moving eastward, threatening other parts of the country for the next several days. The American Red Cross Darke County Chapter has safety steps people can follow and urges everyone in the path of this storm to get prepared now.

The storm system is expected to bring heavy rains, damaging winds, large hail and the possibility of more tornadoes to the Gulf Coast, Southeast, Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and Mid-Atlantic regions through Wednesday. Some regions could see as much as 5 inches of rain which could cause flooding in some areas. “This storm is dangerous. People should pay attention to their local media and stay informed,” said Lynne Gump, Executive Director, “Now, while we are thinking about those less fortunate than ourselves, we should take a look at our own preparedness. Talk to your family and friends in areas about to be affected, implement a Communication Plan.”

TORNADO SAFETY People should know how their community will warn them about the storm. Other steps include the following:

  • Download the Red Cross tornado app onto mobile devices. 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 includes a 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.
  • Pick a place where family members can gather - the basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
  • Watch for tornado danger signs – dark, greenish clouds, a cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or roaring noise.
  • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or severe winds. If there is access to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, abandon the mobile home immediately and go to that facility. Do not wait until the tornado is in view.
  • Stay informed about the moving weather system and share information and preparedness tips with those that live nearby.

Here in Darke County, plans have already been made to send volunteers to assist in the disaster response, with one volunteer flying out Wednesday morning and others on call, ready to follow when the need arrives, they’ll join with other volunteers from the Cincinnati-Dayton Region, volunteers who they've trained with, worked with, ready to respond in a minutes notice as a cohesive unit. Volunteers spend three weeks on disaster assignment, starting with meeting immediate response needs such as sheltering, feeding, mental and physical health needs. When those needs are met, then the real recovery can begin.

HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS 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.

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