Press Release: Update on Red Cross Shelters Statewide and Action Plan

Update on Red Cross Shelters Statewide and Action Plan
Urges Alaskans to Practice Personal Preparedness

ALASKA, Friday, September 21, 2012 — Statewide heavy rains and strong winds have prompted American Red Cross of Alaska to open 3 shelters in the Susitna Valley and assist is operating a shelter in Seward over the past 3 days. *Note: Seward shelter has closed and Upper Susitna shelter is closing*

If your home has been affected by the recent storms and you need immediate assistance, please call 907-646-5401 or 1-888-345-4376.

Red Cross of Alaska is urging all Alaskans to practice personal preparedness and use this opportunity to update emergency kits and family emergency plans. For information and tips, visit redcross.org/prepare.

MEDIA CONTACTS:
Statewide Coverage- Laura Spano: 907-646-5410
Matanuska and Susitna Valley- Katie Bender: 907-250-7314

**UPDATE**
The Upper Susitna Senior Center Shelter will be closing at 12 Noon today, Friday, September 21.
Seward shelter closed Thursday evening after shelter workers recognized no immediate needs.
Salvation Army is assisting Red Cross of Alaska with mobile feeding efforts.

Shelters Still Operating

  • Willow Community Center Shelter
  • The Willow shelter opened around 8pm Wednesday evening in response to evacuations and flooding. Anyone who has been evacuated or has been affected by the ongoing rainfall should call the shelter at 907-232-2698, or go to the shelter located at the Willow Community Center (WACO).

  • Menard Sports Complex

Around 1am Thursday morning, the Emergency Operating Center in the Mat-Su Valley requested that Red Cross open a third shelter in Wasilla after rescues on the Little Susitna River. Volunteers opened Menard Sports Complex on South Mack Drive by 2am to relieve families affected by Little Su flooding.

Alaskans can help their neighbors today by making a financial donation to American Red Cross of Alaska. Visit http://www.alaska.redcross.org to make an online donation, stop in to local Red Cross office, or mail contributions to 235 East 8th Avenue, Suite 200, Anchorage, AK 99501.

Statewide, Red Cross of Alaska continues to monitor risk areas and is prepared to open additional shelters should there be need. Shelters already standing will stay open and continue to keep an eye on situations until the need for additional shelter is apparent.

“Our goal is to make sure that the immediate needs of these families are being met so they can focus on getting repairs made before winter hits,” said Melissa Logan, Red Cross Disaster Services Manager. “By offering a place to sleep, a warm meal and necessities that were taken from them, these families are able to work towards longer term solutions.”

American Red Cross is standing by to see where further assistance may be needed. Should prolonged evacuations and overwhelming requests require the need for additional shelters statewide, Red Cross staff and volunteers are prepared to act.

For the latest information, follow Red Cross of Alaska on Twitter (@RedCrossAK) and Facebook (facebook.com/AlaskaRedCross), or call 1-888-345-4376 or 907-646-5401.

Responding Appropriately During a Flood
• Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information
• Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice
• Stay away from floodwaters—if you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way
• If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground; most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water
• Keep children out of the water
• Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger
Other Ways to Get Ready
The Red Cross has several programs to help people, businesses, schools and communities be better prepared
• Be Red Cross Ready is an online tutorial that teaches people to be ready for emergencies
• Red Cross Ready Rating™ is a free, web-based membership program that measures how ready businesses, organizations and schools are to deal with emergencies and helps them improve their readiness level
• The Ready When the Time Comes program trains employees from businesses so they can be used as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes
• Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED training courses provide participants with the knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies in case advanced medical help is delayed
• Download the American Red Cross Hurricane and First Aid Apps to stay up to date on weather alerts and have a toolkit at your fingertips

People can visit redcross.org for information on what to do before, during and after emergencies and disasters.

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