Concord, NH / Burlington, VT. Saturday, July 1, 2017 – The National Weather Service has issued several storm and flood watches during the past several hours, as well as possible flash flooding. Some weather may even lend itself to rare tornadic activity.
Red Cross personnel will be staffing the Vermont State Emergency Operations Center beginning this evening to work with state and local officials should sheltering become necessary. The Red Cross has a long history of being at the planning stages of disaster preparedness with our governmental partners when the potential for a disaster looms.
“When weather like this moves into the area, the Red Cross is working. Volunteers are mobilized, potential shelters are being put on standby, and planning teams are watching the weather and mobilizing supplies and people,” said Lloyd Ziel, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer for the American Red Cross in New Hampshire and Vermont. “this being a holiday weekend, you may have family and friends who are away from home. We urge people to reach out to those who may not be watching the news or their social media and share Red Cross preparedness tips with family and friends, because the best protection from the unexpected is to be prepared ahead of time.”
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that people prepare for severe weather by taking the following steps:
- Download the free Red Cross Emergency App: The Emergency App gives you instant access to weather alerts, life-saving information and ways to contact family and friends in an emergency, all from your mobile device. This easy-to-use, all-inclusive app provides expert advice on what to do in case of disasters including floods, tornadoes, fires and more. The free Emergency App is available in app stores for smartphones and tablets by searching for the American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
- Create and practice a home tornado plan: Pick a “safe room” or uncluttered area without windows where family members and pets could seek shelter on the lowest floor possible. An underground shelter or basement is the safest place to be. If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
- Assemble an emergency preparedness kit: Pack a first aid kit and a seven-day supply of essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, bottled water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents like insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other emergency items for the whole family.
- Heed storm warnings: Listen to local TV and radio stations for updated storm information. People in a severe storm or tornado WATCH area should keep informed and be ready to act if a warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar, and that danger to life and property is imminent. Watch for tornado danger signs including dark, often greenish clouds; a cloud of debris; large hail; a funnel cloud or a roaring noise.
- Prepare for high winds: If you have time, secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that might be picked up by wind. Make trees more wind resistant by removing diseased or damaged limbs and strategically removing branches so that wind can blow through.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a tornado, please visit redcross.org/prepare/disaster/tornado.
Volunteers On Standby: Regional leadership is identifying and calling available volunteers to stand by as the New England weather picture continues to come into focus. Disaster Teams and Volunteer Leadership are on notice across the two state region should flooding necessitate openings of shelters and Disaster Action Team mobilization.
During a disaster, Disaster Action Teams and disaster volunteers work in their communities in a variety of ways including assessing damage, reporting findings, working with displaced families, moving supplies to and from shelters and other locations, interfacing with first responders and helping to tell the Red Cross Story through writing for social media and other sources.
The American Red Cross is 90% volunteers, and volunteers are needed year round right here in New Hampshire and Vermont for training and preparation for home fires and storms. Volunteers share that the work they do for the Red Cross is some of the most fulfilling work they’ve ever done, knowing that they are helping their neighbors right in their own communities. If you can volunteer for the American Red Cross, go to http://www.redcross.org/support/volunteer to begin the volunteer process.
In New Hampshire and Vermont, a family is displaced by a disaster – most usually a home fire, on average, every 17 hours. You can help people affected by disasters like home fires and countless other crises by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. Visit redcross.org/NHVT, call 1-800-464-6692, or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Red Cross and community partners around the country are participating in a campaign called the “Home Fire Preparedness Campaign.” If you, or someone you know doesn’t have smoke alarms installed in your home, Red Cross is working with local teams to install them. If you are in need of someone to install smoke alarms, please call the American Red Cross to arrange for a free smoke alarm installation or battery check at 1-800-464-6692.