Posted: May 21, 2013 2:27 PM
Updated: May 24, 2013 4:12 PM
BOZEMAN - Montana Red Cross volunteers are on standby, ready to respond if more help is needed for victims affected by the Oklahoma tornado.
"We are watching the situation closely as our colleagues in Oklahoma handle the immediate aftermath of these horrific tornadoes," said Colleen Tone, Disaster Director for Montana Red Cross. "Members of the Montana Red Cross Disaster Workforce are ready to deploy if we are needed in Oklahoma. The Red Cross will be on the ground in these affected areas for weeks to help people get back on their feet."
Currently, six Red Cross shelters are set up to accommodate those affected and more will open if needed, according to the Red Cross. About 30 Red Cross emergency response vehicles were deployed to distribute food and supplies with more 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.
Here are some online resources for those wanting to let family and friends know they are safe and those wanting to help:
SAFE AND WELL WEBSITE
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
Anyone who has the Red Cross tornado app on their mobile device can use the "I'm Safe" button to let loved ones know they are okay. The free Red Cross 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 cancelled. 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 okay 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/montana, calling 1-800-ARC-MONT 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.
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.
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.