Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Moore, OK tornado and other recent storms create need

The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide food and shelter to all of those whose lives have been affected by the deadly tornado in Moore, OK, as well as other tornadoes and storms over the past several days in Texas, Kansas and other parts of Oklahoma.  Shelters, food, supplies and other resources have been, and will continue to be, brought to bear.

Key Red Cross Activities in Affected Areas:

  • Shelters are open and emergency aid stations will be open where people can get food and snacks, mental health and health care services and information about what help is available.
  • More workers, supplies and equipment are on the way to help the people of Oklahoma. Almost 30 emergency response vehicles are enroute to distribute food, water and relief supplies to people in need.
  • The Red Cross is working with the Southern Baptist Convention, a frequent disaster relief partner, who is making two kitchens available with the ability to make tens of thousands of meals a day. The Red Cross also has kitchen support and relief supply trailers on the way to help those forced from their homes.
  •  Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath.
  • We also are operating shelters and supporting people affected by Sunday’s storms in Shawnee and other parts of the Oklahoma City area.
  • The Red Cross will be on the ground in these affected areas for the foreseeable future to help people get back on their feet.
Activities in our Region:

  • For those who are looking to support the relief operations in Moore, OK and other areas hard hit by tornadoes over the past few days, donations can be made at www.redcross.org, by texting REDCROSS to 90999, or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.
  • Red Cross volunteers across the country, including our own region, have been asked to update their availability status so that this information is known as additional resources are mobilized in the coming days.
  • Our experience is that after a large disaster, many people have the impulse to learn more about how they can volunteer.  Throughout the region, over the next two weeks, we are offering a class entitled “Disaster Services:  An Overview.”  This introductory class is the first step in becoming a Red Cross volunteer.  It runs 3 hours and is being offered on the following dates and locations:
    • Burlington, VT – May 28th at 6pm – 29 Mansfield Avenue (Red Cross office)
    • Rutland, VT – June 3rd at 6pm – 117 Strongs Avenue (Red Cross office)
    • Brattleboro, VT – June 4th at 6pm – 81 High Street St. (Red Cross office)
    • Bennington, VT – June 4th at 6pm – 120 McKinley Street (Bennington Rescue)
To sign up for these classes, go to www.redcross.org/vermont and click on “Volunteer.” 
Reconnecting with Friends and Loved Ones:
The Red Cross “Safe and Well” website is active, helping to reconnect people with loved ones in the storm affected areas.  To access Safe and Well, visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell.  Once at that site, you can click on “Search Registrants” to see if your friend or loved one has registered.  Disaster victims can also update their Facebook and Twitter status through the Safe and Well website.
Coping with Disaster: 

In addition to bringing mental health resources to bear in Oklahoma for victims of recent tornadoes, the American Red Cross knows that those far from the scene of a disaster can be impacted emotionally.  The following tips may be helpful to consider as we continue to hear the news of devastation: 

  • People may be experiencing a variety of difficult feelings and thoughts – fear, anger, confusion, shock, disbelief, sadness and grief. These are all normal feelings associated with experiencing a disaster like this.
  • Reacting to a disaster like this can affect not only how someone feels, but the way they think and what they think about, their sleep, their daily lives and the way they interact with others. Children and the elderly are especially at risk.
  • People should try to limit their exposure to the disaster.
  • They should reach out and accept help from others and stay connected with family and other support systems.
  • Allow children to feel upset and encourage them to express their feelings and thoughts.
  • Return to a daily routine as much as possible.
Red Cross and the blood supply: 
·    The Red Cross stands ready to help meet the blood needs of patients in and around Oklahoma City if needed. There is currently enough blood on the shelves to meet patient demands.
·    Type O negative blood is often used during emergencies, when there is no time to determine the patient’s blood type. A situation like this highlights the importance of already having enough type O negative blood on hand at a moment’s notice. We encourage eligible donors with O negative blood to make a blood donation appointment as soon as they are able.
·    The Red Cross has the ability to move blood around the country to where it is needed most during shortages, or in times of natural or man-made disasters. Through its national inventory system, the Red Cross is able to support the shipment of blood and blood products wherever and whenever they are needed.
·    We depend on generous volunteer blood donors to provide lifesaving blood for those in need – each and every day – not only during times of national disaster.  Call 1-800-RED-CROSS or visit www.redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.