February 8, 2012: The American Red Cross has been busy gearing up for the major winter storm while also continuing recovery efforts for those affected by Hurricane Sandy. At the Greater New York Chapter preparations to position supplies to provide support should they be needed are almost complete. There are thousands of cots, blankets, comfort kits, ready-to-eat meals available in the Greater New York Region with teams of local volunteers on standby to open shelters if needed.
Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) have been prepositioned around the Greater New York area. Large box trucks have been loaded with cots and, clothing and food. The box trucks are loaded with enough supplies to open up a shelter and to support 400 people. Diario Diaz is the Mass Care and Logistics manager for the Greater New York Chapter. Along with team members Raul Nunez and Erin Phillips, Diario has coordinated the loading and positioning of trucks and vehicles.
“In addition to the potential need to open shelters,” Diaz said, “we know that the potential for home fires goes up during a major winter storm and that means we need to have our Disaster Action Team (DAT) vehicles loaded and ready.” The Chapter has alerted volunteers to the possibility they will be called upon to provide disaster support.
The same activity is on-going at Red Cross chapters across the northeast U.S. in preparation for what some are calling an historic storm. Travel over the northeast from New York to Maine may be life threatening Friday night through Saturday afternoon. The American Red Cross advises that people in the affected area to stay home and stay safe. If there is a power outage it is safer to use flashlights than candles.
While the Greater New York Chapter prepares for the winter storm the disaster response operation for Hurricane Sandy continues with little or no interruption. Feeding efforts will be subject to weather safety issues, but the Red Cross will do everything they can to keep delivering meals to affected area.
Oklahoma – Heavy snow and strong winds created hazardous conditions in Enid, Pawhuska and Tulsa among other cities yesterday. There were reports of dozens of injuries related to this incident. The State activated the Emergency Operations Center.
The Tulsa Area Chapter opened warming stations for stranded travelers and placed other volunteers on alert.
Chapters throughout the state placed shelters on standby.
State and other local Emergency Operations Centers are staffed by local ARC volunteers.
American Red Cross volunteer Sherri Odell shares her experiences responding to open a shelter during the 2011 blizzard.
New Mexico – The loss of gas and power affected thousands of residents throughout the state and prompted them to evacuate from their homes due to the cold weather.
The Governor declared a State of Emergency.
Disaster Action Team members from the ARC in New Mexico Chapter opened shelters, supported others, provided Mass Care, staffed local Emergency Operations Centers and placed resources on standby should additional assistance be necessary.
Colorado – As travel corridors start to open up, Greyhound has revised the number of stranded residents down to roughly 30 passengers. Instead of opening a separate shelter, the Red Cross will be dropping off cots and blankets at the downtown terminal between 4:30pm and 4:45pm today