Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hurricane Earl Readiness and Response

Hurricane Earl Threatens East Coast
All eyes are on the Atlantic as people across the East Coast prepare for a potential impact from Hurricane Earl, currently a Category 4 storm.  As we encourage all Americans to prepare themselves and their families for this storm, the Red Cross is also getting ready for landfall in a number of states, many of which haven’t seen a major hurricane in decades.

American Red Cross chapters in North Carolina, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine are on alert and beginning to put their plans into action. Emergency response vehicles (ERVs) are on-call to potentially distribute meals, and other needed supplies. Trained and experienced disaster volunteers are being mobilized to move to potential impact zones in the Outer Banks, Long Island and Cape Cod.  Additional volunteers are on stand-by in nearly every state along the eastern seaboard to open shelters in the case of evacuations.

Hurricane Earl has an extremely wide eye – 16 miles – and we anticipate that people across the coast, and even inland, will feel the impact of this storm. In addition, another storm, which may become Hurricane Fiona, is just days behind Earl, following his path.

Hurricane Season 2010

Hurricane Earl is already the fifth named-storm this hurricane season, and NOAA continues to predict an extremely active season. More than 35 million Americans live in regions threatened by hurricanes. With your support, the American Red Cross helps communities across the country prepare for, respond to and recover
from hurricanes every year.

This year, NOAA predicts between 14-23 named storms will occur during hurricane season, which begins June 1 and runs through November 30. The seasonal average is 11 named storms, but a combination of stormconducive weather patterns, warm water temperatures and current storm trends led researchers to predict an increased level of activity for this season. Of the predicted storms, 8 to 14 are expected to be hurricanes.

The American Red Cross Disaster Relief and Hurricane Readiness

While no one can predict with perfect certainty when or where hurricanes will strike, the American Red Cross works every day to help prepare communities for these storms and minimize their impact. We sustain a nationwide infrastructure ready to spring into action within hours of a hurricane and prepared to stay for as long as it takes to meet the needs of those affected.

Thesupport of the public enables the Red Cross to be better prepared and improve the quality of service we provide to our clients. With the increased threat we see this year, we have already pre-positioned additional supplies across the gulf region, like 32,000 cots, 65,000 blankets and 120,000 shelf-stable meals. We also have nearly 90,000 disaster-trained volunteers prepared to serve in communities across the country and more than 20 warehouses strategically placed across the country, filled with shelf-stable food, water, nursing supplies, and cleanup and comfort kits, all ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.  Our diverse partner network comprised of national and local organizations is ready to provide additional resources and expertise
during times of disaster.

In addition, donors’ support enables the Red Cross to maintain:

• 320 Emergency Response Vehicles
• Enough cots and blankets for 350,000 people
• 56,000 shelter locations
• The capability to serve 1 million meals every day for six days

In the wake of hurricanes, the Red Cross begins providing services immediately. Shelters are opened, meals served, families and loved ones reconnected, medical and mental health needs met, and recovery plans formed. In the aftermath of a hurricane, those impacted have a multitude of questions about what the future will hold. The public's support helps the Red Cross provide the answers.

The American Red Cross – Preparing our Communities

While the American Red Cross works daily to improve our organizational preparedness and service delivery, true readiness is possible only with an informed and active public. To that end, the Red Cross strives to achieve fully prepared and educated communities.

Every year the Red Cross encourages families to prepare for the oncoming hurricane season with a Hurricane Safety Checklist. We provide instructions on how to build a disaster supply kit, develop an evacuation plan, safeguard homes and protect possessions, and keep you and your family safe during and after a hurricane strikes.

We provide critical instruction in CPR, First Aid and Preparedness that train everyday people to become lifesavers in times of emergency. In 2009, approximately 10 million people learned lifesaving skills through a Red Cross class and approximately 5 million attended a Red Cross disaster education presentation. A person learns skills in a Red Cross class 41,000 times per-day that will help them protect and assist
their friends and neighbors during times of emergency.

Support of Our Donors

You can help people affected by disasters like Hurricane Earl, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, by making 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. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. 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.