Evacuation SheltersSusan M. Holmes
Executive Director, Wiregrass Area Chapter-American Red Cross
Hurricane season is here and we want to help you. The very best way to protect yourself and your family during a hurricane or other disaster is through the actions you take before the event occurs. Preparedness is the key. The American Red Cross has compiled a list of 3 steps to take to help.
1. Get a kit
2. Make a plan
3. Be informed
Details to help you may be found at www.redcross.org. The Red Cross also has brochures available with helpful information.
Monitor the weather. Hurricanes can be unpredictable so it is necessary to stay informed. Prepare to take care of yourself. Heed emergency management orders to evacuate. If the need should arise to evacuate, consider that other areas may have received evacuation orders before and that traffic may be unusually heavy. Consider alternative routes. Let a friend or family member out of town know where you are going and let them know when you arrive safely.
If you chose to go to a Red Cross shelter, take your disaster supplies kit with you. Along with water, clothing, and personal items, be sure to include medications. Don't forget the prescription bottle; the information on it will make it much easier to refill if the need should arise. A battery powered radio and extra batteries will help you stay informed.
Make arrangements for your pets. Pets are not allowed in public shelters. Many hotels will allow small animals to stay with their guests. Be sure to include a leash, food, water, a carrying case, litter box, any medications and vaccination information. Local officials may be able to assist if you should need to stay in a shelter but have a pet. The best thing to do is to plan ahead.
Help your children cope with the situation. Your reactions may give them clues how to act. Be realistic and honest. Their fears may come from their imagination so talk to them about what they are feeling. Let me help in the preparation of the disaster kit is they are old enough. Be sure to include items that will offer some comfort and entertainment both during travel and hotel or shelter stays. Reassure your children and listen to them.
Many families are caring for seniors in their homes. Be sure to consider any special needs they may have as well. Medications, prescriptions, and mobility may be an issue.Red Cross staff and volunteers care about your safety and wellbeing. If conditions will not allow Red Cross personnel to enter into an area safely, our efforts may be hampered until public officials deem it is safe enough for entry. Your preparation before the event will help you to be safer during the emergency.
The Red Cross invites you to get involved. The Red Cross is able to meet the needs of our community through the dedication and training of our many volunteer, which come together from all walks of life. Volunteers are needed to assist in shelters, prepare and serve food, work with families, and assess damage. Please call our chapter at 334-792-9852 if you would like to discuss volunteer opportunities with the American Red Cross. When we come together, we become something bigger than us all.
Be Red Cross Ready!
- Not all shelters may be opened at one time.
- People should monitor local media for shelter openings.
What to bring
- A change of clothing, rain gear and sturdy shoes
- Toiletries and personal items
- Blankets or sleeping bags and pillows
- Identification and any important papers
- Games or toys for children, books for adults
- Special items for infants or elderly family members
- Any special dietary needs and nonperishable foods for snacks
- Battery operated radio, flashlights and plenty of spare batteries
- Prescription medications or any over-the-counter medications you normally take
- Bring ear plugs, shelters can get very noisy.
What not to bring
Did you know?
Shelters are considered a last resort. It is best to evacuate out of the area, if possible. It's also best to plan to stay with relatives or friends to make the stay more enjoyable. It may be a few days before you can return after a storm strikes.