Our thoughts are with everyone affected by last night’s tornadoes that hit parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
As many as 18 tornadoes touched down in three states in the dark of night and that number could rise as experts study the situation. Initial reports show that some communities suffered major damage with homes and buildings destroyed and thousands of people left without electricity.
This morning, the American Red Cross has teams mobilized in several states to assess the extent of damage and the needs of affected communities in support of local emergency management. It is still an evolving situation and, in some areas, search and rescue is ongoing.
The Red Cross encourages those still in the path of these storms to stay alert to the weather through their local National Weather Service office. For a list of current Red Cross shelters, download the Red Cross Emergency App or call 1-800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767).
YOU CAN HELP people affected by disasters such as hurricanes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare, respond and help people recover from disasters, large and small. Visit redcross.org, call 800-RED-CROSS (800-733-2767), or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
CONNECT WITH A LOVED ONE If you can’t find someone affected by the storms, call during off-peak hours for the best chance of getting through. Send a text message, which can go through when phone calls don’t. You can also check your loved one’s social media pages or send an email. Call friends and relatives who may have been in contact with your loved one or call people and places where your loved one is known; neighbors, employers, schools, places of worship, senior centers, social clubs/centers, unions or fraternal organizations.
If your missing loved one is elderly, has functional or access needs, suffers from a medical or mental condition or has difficulty understanding the English language, you can contact your local Red Cross for assistance. If you lived with your missing loved one in the same home before the disaster but were separated, or they are members of the military community, you can also contact your local Red Cross chapter.
AFTER A TORNADO (More information on tornado safety is available here.) Only return to your neighborhood when officials say it is safe to do so.
- Keep children and pets away from dangerous areas and flood waters.
- If you have children, leave them with a relative or friend while you conduct your first post-disaster home inspection.
- Check the outside of your home before you enter. Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks, missing support beams and other damage. Ask a building inspector or contractor to inspect the structure before you move in.
- If power lines are down outside your home, don’t step in puddles or standing water. Report them immediately to the power company.
- Do not cut or go over colored tape placed over doors or windows to mark damaged areas, unless you have been told it is safe to do so. If a building inspector has put a colour-coded sign on the house, do not enter until you have received further information, advice and instructions from your local authority.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and stay away from it. Call the fire department after you reach safety.
IF YOU HAVE LOST POWER (More information on power outage safety can be found here.). There are ways to minimize loss and keep everyone as comfortable as possible.
- Use flashlights in the dark — not candles.
- Do not drive unless necessary. Traffic lights will be out, and roads may be congested.
- Turn off and unplug any appliances, equipment and electronics. When power returns, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave a light on, so you know when the power is restored.
If the power outage is two hours or less, don’t worry about losing perishable foods. During extended absences, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food.
- Use perishable food from the refrigerator first. Then, use food from the freezer.
- Perishable food is safe to eat when it has a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- If the power outage lasts more than a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep food in a dry, cool place and cover it at all times.
If you are using a generator, keep it dry and do not use in wet conditions.
- Do not use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device indoors, in a garage, basement or other partially enclosed area. Keep this equipment outdoors and away from doors, windows and vents, which can allow carbon monoxide to enter the home.
- Run the generator on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up by poles. Do not handle the generator with wet hands.
- Turn off the generator and let it cool before refueling. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts can catch fire.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator. Never plug the generator into a wall outlet.
HELP CORPORATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS Generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters large and small, respond whenever and wherever even when disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1M Members:
Amazon; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Bank of America; Best Buy; Caterpillar Foundation; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Elevance Health Foundation; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Lowe’s Companies, Inc.; McDonald’s Corporation; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PayPal; PetSmart Charities; The Starbucks Foundation; State Farm; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Truist Foundation; VSP Vision; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
ADGP $500K Members:
Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Financial Bread; Calmoseptine, Inc.; Capital One; CarMax; Citi Foundation; The Clorox Company; Darden Foundation; Delta Dental; Dollar General; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company Fund; Fox Corporation; General Motors; Google.org; The Home Depot Foundation; Global Role; The JM Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; The Kroger Co. foundation; Liberty Mutual Insurance; Lockheed Martin Corporation; MasterCard; Merck; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; Organon; PepsiCo Foundation; Salesforce; Southeastern Grocers Gives Foundation & Southeastern Grocers, home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie; Stanley Black & Decker; target; The TJX Companies, Inc.; Toyota; United Airlines; UPS; USAA; Visa Foundation; The Walt Disney Company; and The Wawa Foundation.
ADGP $250K Members:
7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; The AES Corporation; Ameriprise Financial; Assurant; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation; Barclays; Big 5 Sporting Goods; CDW; Choice Hotels International; Cisco Foundation; CNA Insurance; The Coca-Cola Company; CSX; The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Discover; Duke Energy; Dutch Bros Foundation; Equal; FirstEnergy Corporation; Gopuff; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; HCA Health Care; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Kaiser Permanente; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; The Labcorp Charitable Foundation; Lenovo Foundation; LHC Group; Major League Baseball; Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc.; Martin Marietta; Mattress Firm; McKesson Foundation; MetLife Foundation; Neiman Marcus Group; NextEra Energy, Inc.; Northrop Grumman; Northwestern Mutual; Old Dominion Freight Line; Pacific Life Foundation; Procter & Gamble; Prudential; Raytheon Technologies; Reckitt; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Project, a project of the New Venture Fund; Ross Stores Foundation; Ryder Systems, Inc.; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; Lending Hand Foundation of Security Finance; ServiceNow; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consulting Services; U-Haul International; US Bank Foundation; and Zurich.