WASHINGTON, Dec. 6, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is providing safe shelter and support in California after several fast-moving wildfires forced thousands of people from their homes across the southern part of the state. Overnight, almost 430 people took refuge from the fires in seven Red Cross shelters.
As of Wednesday morning, around 20,000 homes are threatened by out of control fires, scorching more than 83,000 acres already in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. Evacuations have been ordered for 140,000 residents.
Dangerous fire conditions are expected to be a threat for Southern California for much of this week, with officials calling this the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event seen this wildfire season. The Governor of California has declared a State of Emergency. Thousands are without power, various schools are closed and some patients have been evacuated to hospitals outside of the area at risk.
In addition to providing shelter and food, the Red Cross is moving additional disaster workers, cots, blankets and emergency supplies to the affected counties.
Red Cross volunteers are working to ensure that everyone – including children, the elderly, and those with special needs – get the best possible help during this challenging time. The Red Cross is also working closely with government and community partners to coordinate relief efforts.
HOW TO FIND A SHELTER The Red Cross urges everyone to follow evacuation orders from local law enforcement and to have an emergency kit ready to go. If someone needs to find a shelter or other help, they should follow their local media or go to redcross.org and check the shelter map. People can also find a shelter by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App, which also puts wildfire safety tips at their fingertips. The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
Everyone is welcome at Red Cross shelters. People do not need to be American citizens to receive Red Cross assistance. The Red Cross is working with partners to provide care for evacuated pets. Anyone who needs a safe place to stay should come to an evacuation shelter, and suitable accommodations will be found for household pets. Service animals and therapy pets are welcome at Red Cross shelters.
WILDFIRE SAFETY People should listen to their local media for updates on the fire and be ready to leave quickly. Other wildfire safety steps include:
- Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing your direction of escape.
- Keep your pets in one room so you can find them quickly if you have to evacuate.
- Arrange for a temporary place to stay outside the threatened area.
- Keep your indoor air clean – close windows and doors to prevent the smoke outside from getting in your home.
- Use the recycle mode on the air conditioner in your home or car. If you don't have air conditioning and it's too hot to be inside, seek shelter somewhere else.
- If smoke levels are high, don't use anything that burns and adds to air pollution inside such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.
STAY CONNECTED WITH LOVED ONES Visit the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org/safeandwell to reconnect with loved ones. The site allows individuals and organizations to register and post messages to indicate that they are safe, or to search for loved ones. The site is always available, open to the public and available in Spanish. Registrations and searches can be done directly on the website. Registrations can also be completed by texting SAFE to 78876.
You can also use the "I'm Safe" feature of the Red Cross Emergency App to let loved ones know your status.
HOW YOU CAN HELP You can help people affected by disasters big and small, like wildfires and countless other crises, by making a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from disasters big and small. Call, click, or text to give: visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
CORPORATIONS HELP The generous donations from members of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and the Disaster Responder Program enable the American Red Cross to prepare communities for disasters big and small, respond whenever and wherever disasters occur and help families during the recovery process.
ADGP $1 Million members are: American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Anthem Foundation; Bank of America; Caterpillar Foundation; The Clorox Company; ConocoPhillips; Costco Wholesale; Delta Air Lines; Disney; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; General Motors Foundation; Grainger; The Home Depot Foundation; LDS Charities; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; Mazda North American Operations; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; New Balance Foundation and New Balance Athletics; PepsiCo Foundation; State Farm; Target; UPS; VSP Global; and Walmart and the Walmart Foundation.
ADGP $500,000 members are: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Boise Paper; Capital One; Cisco Foundation; Citi Foundation; Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation; Discover; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Farmers Insurance; Ford Motor Company; Humble Bundle; International Paper; John Deere Foundation; Johnson Controls; LabCorp; McDonald's Corporation; Medtronic Foundation; Meijer; Merck Foundation; Mondelēz International Foundation; Procter & Gamble Company; PwC; Reynolds American Foundation; Ryder; Southwest Airlines; Tata Consultancy Services; TD Ameritrade; The TJX Companies, Inc.; United Airlines; The Wawa Foundation; and Wells Fargo.
Disaster Responder Program members are: Adobe; AdvoCare International L.P.; Alcoa; Alliance Data; Assurant; Astellas USA Foundation; AT&T; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; AXA; The Ball Foundation; BMW of North America; BNY Mellon; CarMax; Cox Automotive; Duke Energy; Entergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; IBM Corporation; Ingersoll Rand Foundation; The J.M. Smucker Company; Land O'Lakes, Inc.; Mastercard; Morgan Stanley; Neiman Marcus Group; Northrop Grumman Corporation; Northwestern Mutual and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation; Prudential Foundation; SC Johnson; SERVPRO; Southeastern Grocers Home of BI-LO Harveys Winn Dixie; Standard Textile; Toyota; U-Haul International; United Technologies Corporation; The USAA Foundation; U.S. Bank; and Visa.
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 not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
SOURCE American Red Cross