UPDATE (NOON, Aug. 29) - Now that Isaac has become a hurricane, local Red Cross volunteers are stepping up their activities. Three Westchester residents are already en-route to Gulf Coast communities to assist with relief efforts, and more volunteers from our area are being prepared for the trip to the Gulf Coast.
Volunteers dispatched to the Gulf Coast:
With the anniversary of Hurricane Irene weighing heavily on them, local workers and volunteers from the are preparing for what could be a large disaster response spanning multiple states as Tropical Storm Isaac approaches Gulf Coast states.
Nationally, the Red Cross is already starting to help the millions of people whose communities are under warnings from the storm. Volunteers from our area, such as a technical expert from White Plains, are being prepared for travel to the affected areas, where 22 evacuation shelters have already opened in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
A volunteer from Armonk and another from New Rochelle are preparing to head to to Port Allen in Louisiana on Tuesday.
As the storm endangers millions down South, local Red Cross officials are also urging local residents to learn form the painful lessons of Hurricane Irene and take steps to prepare for the hurricane season.
As of today, the Red Cross:
- Deployed more than 1,500 disaster workers across the Gulf Coast to help with Red Cross efforts.
- Sheltered hundreds of people Sunday night in Florida. More than 560 people spent Sunday night in Red Cross and community shelters after Isaac brought heavy rain, power outages and flooding. Overall, the Red Cross opened 22 shelters and supported 20 community shelters overnight.
- Put dozens of shelters on stand-by along the Gulf, where evacuations have already been ordered in some area. Shelters are likely to open in the area throughout the day.
- Sent mobile kitchens and truckloads of relief supplies to Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. More than 50 pre-positioned support trailers are ready with supplies.
- Activated more than 150 emergency response vehicles (ERVs) in those states and from around the country to help.
- Continued to help in Florida where flooding continues. Red Cross disaster workers will continue to help those affected by opening shelters, providing meals and distributing relief supplies like personal hygiene and clean-up items.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Local Red Cross spokesman Abigail Adams said Tropical Storm Isaac is predicted to trigger a large and prolonged disaster response with major flooding across several states. In additional to preparing volunteers to head to the Gulf, she said a local emergency response vehicle is being prepared to make the trip from New York to the Gulf Coast.
Adams said that people wishing to make a donation to the Red Cross to support the emergency efforts can click or text by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation
People who may be in the path of Isaac should stay informed about the storm and leave the area if authorities direct them to do so.
- If someone needs to find a shelter, they can download the Red Cross Hurricane app, visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check their local television, radio and newspaper. The free Hurricane App features a toolkit with a flashlight, strobe light and alarm. It can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
- The Red Cross Safe and Well website is a secure and easy-to-use online tool that helps families connect during emergencies. To register, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767). This site also connects with the Twitter and Facebook accounts of users.
- People should restock their disaster supplies, and fill their vehicle’s gas tank. They should also get ready to bring anything inside that can be picked up by the wind such as lawn furniture and bicycles. Close windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you don’t have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.