The American Red Cross is working around the clock to help people in Oklahoma after Monday's devastating tornadoes with shelters, food, water and supplies, and more workers, supplies and equipment are moving into the area.
"Our thoughts and sympathy are with all those impacted by these horrific tornadoes," said Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross in Washington, D.C.
"Specialized Red Cross disaster teams are helping now and will be helping for weeks to come as people in Oklahoma recover from these storms," Riggen said.
"At this moment, no one from Eastern Wisconsin/Michigan border communities is deploying," added Barbara Behling of the local Red Cross Chapter. "The national network is first recruiting people from as close to the disaster as possible. This allows them to drive to the site faster than we can fly."
The Red Cross deployed almost 30 emergency response vehicles to distribute food and relief supplies and more are on alert. Two Southern Baptist Convention kitchens and kitchen support trailers will join the relief effort with the ability to serve tens of thousands of meals a day.
Emergency aid stations will open where people can get food and snacks, mental health and health services and information about what help is available. The Red Cross is supporting first responders and working with local and state officials to make sure people get the help they need.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross continues to provide shelter in Shawnee and other parts of the Oklahoma City area following storms.
Other ways the Red Cross is helping include:
- Safe and Well: The Red Cross has several ways people can let loved ones know they are safe. They can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website by visiting www.redcross.org and clicking on the "List Yourself or Search Registrants" link under "How to Get Help." Those who can't access a computer can call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) and a Red Cross operator can help them register. Disaster victims can also update their Facebook and Twitter status through the Safe and Well website or visit www.redcross.org/safeandwell on their smart phone and click on the "List Yourself as Safe and Well" or "Search for friends and family" link.
- Download Tornado APP: If someone has the Red Cross tornado app on their mobile device, they can use the "I'm Safe" button to let loved ones know they are OK. The app can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross. It includes a high-pitched siren and tornado warning alert that signals when a NOAA tornado warning has been issued, as well as also an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or has been canceled. Content is preloaded so users have access to critical information even without mobile connectivity, including locations of open Red Cross shelters and the one-touch "I'm Safe" messaging to let loved ones know they are OK through social media outlets. More than a million alerts were sent from the Red Cross tornado app with 340 separate tornado warning/watch notices on Sunday and Monday as tornadoes hit in Oklahoma and other states.
- 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 help provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters.
- Blood Supplies: The Red Cross stands ready to help meet the blood needs of patients in and around Oklahoma City if needed, and there is currently enough blood on the shelves to meet patient demands. The Red Cross is a secondary supplier of blood products to hospitals in the affected area in Oklahoma. People with type O negative blood are encouraged to give blood when they are able. All eligible blood donors can schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting www.redcrossblood.org to help ensure blood is available when people need it.
- Corporations Help: The Red Cross is able to respond quickly when emergencies like this happen with the help of corporations who are members of the organization's Annual Disaster Giving (ADGP) and Disaster Responder programs. Program members pledge donations on an ongoing basis to allow the Red Cross to pre-position supplies and be ready to take immediate action when disasters occur.
For a complete list of corporations, visit www.redcrossblood.org