Red Cross opens Charlotte shelters, offers storm prep tips

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CHARLOTTE – As the American Red Cross prepares for a large relief effort across multiple states in response to Hurricane Florence, the Greater Carolinas Region, in collaboration with emergency management partners, is opening shelters for evacuees.
“This is a dangerous storm and could have significant impact inland.” said Angela A. Broome Powley, regional executive officer, American Red Cross Greater Carolinas Region. “As we prepare to open five shelters in Mecklenburg County for evacuees, we urge anyone in the path of Florence to get ready now and follow requests from emergency management officials. We stand ready to open additional shelters across our region as needed.”
• Ardrey Kell High School, 10220 Ardrey Kell Drive, Charlotte, N.C. – this is the closest shelter to Indian Land
• East Mecklenburg High School, 6800 Monroe Road, Charlotte, N.C.
• South Mecklenburg High School, 8900 Park Road, Charlotte, N.C.
• North Mecklenburg High School, 11201 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, N.C
• Olympic High School, 4301 Sandy Porter Road, Charlotte, N.C.
“We encourage our neighbors not to wait, but to prepare and be weather aware,” Broome Powley said.
Here’s what you should do to prepare for the impending storm:
• Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day (recommended three-day supply), non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. Many of these items are available through the Red Cross Store at redcrossstore.org.
• Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
• Have a communication plan. Identify someone outside the impacted area to call to check-in or leave messages.
• Be informed. Listen to your local weather channel or follow NOAA weather reports. Learn about the community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.
• Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to set severe weather and emergency alerts on a mobile device. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. The app can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross, texting ‘EMERGENCY’ to 90999, or by going to redcross.org/apps.
If you already have an emergency kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still ok to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If you already have an emergency plan for your household, talk about it again with family members, so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.

VOLUNTEER: “We’re thankful for the dedication of volunteers who are willing to help those in need,” Broome Powley said. “If you would like to volunteer with the Red Cross, visit redcross.org/volunteer to learn more about the many volunteer opportunities and how to submit a volunteer application. This would allow you to not only help on large disasters like Hurricane Florence, but also when smaller disasters like home fires happen in our community.”
DONATE: We know Americans are generous and want to do everything they can to help after a disaster. Unfortunately, collecting and sending food, clothing and other household items often does more harm than good. It takes time and money to store, sort, clean and distribute donated items, which diverts limited time and resources away from helping those most affected. Instead, the best way to support disaster victims is with a financial donation.
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by disasters large and small by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting “RED CROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
GIVE BLOOD: Visit redcrossblood.org to find a blood drive or collection location near you. Every 2 seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is important that the Red Cross has a sufficient blood supply on hand to meet the needs of patients every day and be prepared for emergencies of all types, including those that can disrupt blood drives or require blood or platelet transfusions.
• Natural disasters, such as flooding and hurricanes can make road travel hazardous, preventing blood and platelet donors from giving and resulting in blood drive cancellations.
• Blood can take up to three days to be tested, processed and made available for patients, so it’s the blood already on the shelves that helps save lives in an emergency.
• Unlike many other lifesaving medical treatments, blood donations cannot be stockpiled. Red blood cells have a shelf-life of only 42 days and platelets just five days.
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 nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or on Twitter at @RedCross.