The American Red Cross Urges South Florida to Prepare Now for Severe Weather
MIAMI, FL. June 5, 2016 — South Florida is prone to severe weather, and the Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when severe weather threatens.
“By preparing together for severe weather, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Carlos Castillo, Regional Disaster Officer of the American Red Cross South Florida Region. “The Red Cross has some easy steps that residents can take now to get ready for a possible severe weather event.”
Several South Florida Red Cross volunteers are in Texas, operating or supporting 17 shelters, providing meals, helping assess the damage and distributing relief supplies. The Red Cross deployed 22 emergency response vehicles from around the country to help and six more are on the way to support the relief effort.
This is a good reminder that South Florida needs to prepare for hurricane season. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for severe weather by:
Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App: The Red Cross Emergency App provides people with instant access to emergency alerts and life-saving information. Available for smart phones and tablets, it includes content on what to do before, during and after a variety of severe weather events. Users can customize more than 35 emergency weather alerts based on their location and where loved ones live.
Other features include:
- “Make a Plan” helps families figure out what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes;
- Preloaded emergency preparedness content is available in English And Spanish and can be accessed without mobile connectivity;
- “Family Safe” allows people to notify loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster; and
- A real-time map with open Red Cross shelter locations and weather information.
The app is available in app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
Making an Emergency Plan: Household members should designate a safe place for everyone to go in case of severe weather. Pick a location away from windows, skylights and glass doors that could be broken by strong winds or hail. Plans should include protecting pets and having emergency supplies for them.
Creating an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Pack a first aid kit, at least a three-day supply of water and foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, a seven-day supply of essential medications, manual can opener, flashlights and 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. Customize the kit for any household members with special needs.
Heeding Storm Warnings: A severe storm WATCH means severe thunderstorms are possible in and near the designated area. People in a watch area should keep informed and be ready to act if a severe thunderstorm warning is issued. A severe storm WARNING means severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be in danger from lightning. Seek shelter immediately. The National Weather Service recommends staying inside for at least 30 minutes after the last thunder clap.
Preparing for High Winds: If time permits, secure lawn furniture, outdoor decorations, trash cans, hanging plants and anything else that can be picked up by wind.
For more information on what to do before, during and after severe weather, people can go to redcross.org/prepare/disaster/thunderstorm
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @SFLRedCross.