Editor's Note: The following was provided by the American Red Cross.
WASHINGTON, Saturday, October 27, 2012 — Hurricane Sandy is barreling toward the East Coast and the American Red Cross is launching a multi-state response to help the millions of people who may be in the path of the storm.
The Red Cross urges everyone to make their final storm preparations today. Important information about how to get ready is available on the Red Cross web site.
Weather experts predict the massive storm could affect residents up and down the eastern region of the United States for several days and the Red Cross is working with government officials and community partners to coordinate a wide-ranging response. Sandy is expected to have a huge impact in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. Some areas are already under state of emergencies.
“This is a dangerous storm that should be taken seriously, and people should get ready now,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of Disaster Services for the Red Cross. “Sandy could affect people all along the East Coast and the Red Cross is preparing to open shelters and is moving workers, vehicles and relief supplies into place.”
Sandy is expected to bring as much as ten inches of rain and flooding in some areas, winds gusting up to 80 miles per hour, extended power outages and even several feet of snow in the higher elevations.
Red Cross chapters throughout the potentially affected areas are mobilizing hundreds of disaster workers, readying shelters and coordinating response efforts with community partners. Red Cross workers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware are finalizing preparations in advance of opening shelters as early as Sunday afternoon if needed. Relief supplies like cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals and snacks are being moved into place to support sheltering efforts.
In Delaware and Maryland, the Red Cross is coordinating with the Southern Baptist Convention to serve meals in shelters. Meanwhile in West Virginia, the Red Cross is preparing for significant snowfall and coordinating response planning with state and county emergency management agencies.
GET READY The Red Cross has information on its website about how to get prepared for the storm, including steps for hurricane and power outage emergencies. Videos are also available to help get prepared, including information on severe weather preparedness and how to get ready for winter weather.
RED CROSS APPS People should download the free Red Cross Hurricane and First Aid apps for mobile devices to have emergency information at their fingertips. The Hurricane App provides real-time hurricane safety information such as weather alerts and where Red Cross shelters are located. The app also features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm, and the one-touch “I’m Safe” button lets someone use social media sites to tell family and friends they are okay.
The Hurricane App can be downloaded in Spanish by changing the language setting on someone’s smart phone to Spanish before downloading. The First Aid app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in someone’s hand. The apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
HOW TO HELP To help people affected by disasters like this, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visitwww.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
PLEASE GIVE BLOOD The Red Cross is moving shipments of blood products to hospitals along the coast in advance of the storm as patients will still need blood and platelets despite the weather. Sandy could affect the turn-out at Red Cross blood drives. If anyone is eligible, especially in places not affected by the storm, they are asked to please schedule a blood donation now.
To schedule a donation time or get more information about giving blood, people can visit redcrossblood.orgor call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). To give blood, someone must be at least 17 years of age, meet weight and height requirements and be in general good health. Donors should bring their Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID with them. Some states allow 16-year-olds to give with parental consent.