Preparing for Evacuation

By Michele Maki, American Red Cross

“I never thought about it before. I never really thought about a disaster or what our family would do if something happened. But now I know better.” Jessica Bailey literally fled with her husband and 4 children when she heard rumors that the Oroville dam was failing and they had mere minutes to evacuate. Little did she know these reports were incorrect. Jessica and her family were desperate to find safe place Sunday night. It was a harrowing experience, but by Monday her family found safety with the Red Cross at the California Fair Grounds in Sacramento. However, they left with only the clothes on their backs.

go-kitWhile chatting with a Red Cross volunteer at the shelter, Jessica learned about the disaster preparedness programs the Red Cross offers. She learned that having a “to go” bag would have made a big difference in her family’s comfort and peace of mind.

Keep your gas tank in your car full, so you will be able to safely evacuate to an emergency shelter.

Everyone can make a simple “To Go Bag so you can be ready for an emergency, including a sudden evacuation. Here are some suggested items to pack :

* Extra chargers for your cell phone(s)

* Copies of important papers such as: lists of medication and medical conditions, copies of medical insurance cards, drivers licenses, passports, or other IDs, proof of address (if not shown on ID, such as a utility bill), copies of birth certificates, insurance policies for car and home, etc. These can even be stored on a thumb drive.

* Family and emergency contact information

* Medications (7-day supply…discuss this with your doctor) and medical items such as needed syringes.

* Change of clothing for each family member

* Sanitation and personal hygiene items (Travel size soap, shampoo, disposable razors, etc. Don’t forget diapers and formula if you have a baby!)

* Flashlight with extra batteries.

* Extra set of car keys and house keys

* Prescription glasses (When you get a new pair, slip those old lenses into your bag, just in case!)

* Extra cash (ATMs may not be online in a natural disaster)

* Have a plan for your pets too. Don’t forget their food and medical needs.

More information can be found at Redcross.org

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Many Hands Make a Little Girl’s Birthday Wish Come True

“This is the best birthday I’ve ever had!”

When little Giselle Torres’ family was told to evacuate Sunday night, a birthday party was the farthest thing from their minds.  Instead, they were afraid and confused. What did the future hold for them? Where would they go? The Torres family found safety and comfort at the California State Fairgrounds where the Red Cross is managing a shelter.  There, they were greeted by friendly volunteers and given a sense of safety and relief.

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Best day ever: Giselle shows off her new birthday presents in the Red Cross shelter. Photo:Cindy Huge, American Red Cross

But what of their daughter, Giselle? Her birthday was only a few days away. What could possibly be done? It wasn’t long before word got out among the Red Cross kitchen staff that a little girl was going to miss her birthday because of this evacuation.  These Red Cross volunteers were NOT going to let that happen!

They started a small collection to purchase gifts and a cake.  Then word spread.  Kathleen Brown, another evacuee at the shelter, also wanted to help. She made calls and before long, a plan was in the works. It wasn’t long before Sacramento Deputy Sheriff Joe Gordon and Kenny Alvarado were collecting enough toys and games for not only Gizelle, for all 17 children at the shelter.

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A Red Cross volunteer brings Giselle her birthday cake. Photo: Cindy Huge, American Red Cross

“I don’t have kids of my own, but this is great,” Deputy Gordon remarked as he helped Giselle select just the right gift. “This has made my day!”  But the surprises were just beginning.

It was lunch time and while everyone was eating, the volunteers brought out the cake with candles blazing and presents overflowing.  It was a complete surprise.  Her family was stunned. They had no hint that behind the scenes, many hands were at work to make this little girl’s birthday memorable and a wish come true.

“All this just warms my heart,” gushed Red Cross Volunteer Lori Nichols. “The folks staying with us here feel empowered.  They are hopeful and want to give back.  They are lifting all our spirits!”

Gizelle’s mother agrees, “We were so worried before. Today, we are happy. I’m happy because my children are happy. We are so grateful. Thank you so much, Red Cross.”

 

Story by Michele Maki, American Red Cross

Volunteering Together

For Red Cross volunteers John and Julie Stone, packing their suitcases and heading out of town when the Red Cross needs them has become a way of life. When the call came for sheltering support on the day of the Oroville Dam evacuations, this San Diego couple was called immediately to help staff Chico’s Silver Dollar Fairground shelter. Bags packed, they arrived within a day’s notice and immediately began helping evacuees at the shelter.

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John and Julie Stone take a Valentine moment while providing shelter support at the Silver Dollar Fairground shelter. Photo by Maggie Buckenmayer, American Red Cross

John and Julie have over 17 years of combined Red Cross volunteer experience and have been on four national disaster relief operation deployments together. In addition to responding to major disasters, the couple also volunteers for their local San Diego chapter by supporting emergency responders, volunteering at blood drives, and setting up local shelters, while also supporting the Disaster Action Team (DAT). In addition, John is certified as a shelter supervisor, DAT lead and teaches disaster classes.

While volunteering at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds shelter and helping evacuees, Julie relates, “Going on disaster operations together enables us to truly appreciate each other’s strengths in a way we might never have known.” John adds, “Helping people begin the road to recovery gives us a great satisfaction.”

You can make a difference by volunteering with the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross relies on generous volunteers who give their time and talent to help fulfill our lifesaving mission. You can get trained to respond to local or national disaster relief efforts. Disaster responders meet the needs of those affected by disasters, providing food, shelter and comfort for families affected by major disasters such as floods, fire, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Visit redcross.org/volunteer to sign up and learn more.

Story and photo by Maggie Buckenmayer, American Red Cross

Red Cross Continues to Feed and Shelter Residents Affected by Oroville Spillway Evacuations

~Evacuation orders downgraded, but residents urged to remain vigilant and prepared~

SACRAMENTO – The American Red Cross continues to provide shelter and relief to residents affected by Oroville Dam Spillway evacuations despite Tuesday’s downgrade in evacuation status. Shelters remain open for those heeding current evacuation warnings.

As of Tuesday night, more than 1,500 people remained in 16 Red Cross and community shelters. While the risk has been reduced and many have returned to their homes, the region is expected to see several inches of rain in the next few days. The Red Cross is working closely to government partners and emergency officials to ensure safe shelter and resources remain in place should continued evacuations be necessary.

Those affected by current evacuations may receive services at any of these Red Cross shelter locations:

Silver Dollar Fairgrounds
2357 Fair St.
Chico, CA 95928

Hammon Senior Center
1033 W. Las Palmas
Patterson, CA 95363

California State Fairgrounds – Cal Expo
1600 Expo Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815

The Red Cross is also supporting multiple community shelters throughout the region by providing cots, blankets, comfort kits, and other resources. More than 250 Red Cross disaster workers are providing shelter, meals and comfort, with more workers and relief supplies on the way to the region to support this massive response.

To find an emergency shelter, visit redcross.org or call 1-800-RED-CROSS. Those with friends or family may visit Red Cross shelters during the day for information or a hot meal.

GET PREPARED

With the situation still uncertain for many who live in the area surrounding the Oroville Dam, the Red Cross urges everyone to follow any evacuation orders and Be Red Cross Ready – build a kit, make a plan and be informed. Pack your kit in an easy-to-handle container and include the following:

  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio to stay informed and cell phone with charger
  • First aid kit
  • Medications – a 7-day supply – and any medical items needed
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items like a toothbrush, soap and shampoo
  • Copies of important papers such as deed/lease to your home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, proof of address, medication list
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • A map of the area
  • Extra clothing
  • Pillows and blankets

More items to consider include medical supplies such as hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses, baby supplies, pet supplies and an extra set of car and house keys. Full information about what to include is available on redcross.org.

Residents are encouraged to keep their car gas tanks full so that in the event of another evacuation, they can quickly get to safety.

People can also download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including open shelter locations, emergency weather alerts and flood safety information. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

HOW TO HELP

Donations: We are thankful to those who would like to donate items for those evacuated, however the Red Cross is not equipped to manage, support, and distribute donated items. Instead, our priority is to get those affected settled at emergency shelters, and to provide supplies to meet immediate needs. Right now, the best way to help is through monetary donations.

Help people affected by disasters like floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Volunteer: The Red Cross is always accepting new volunteers who are interested in supporting disaster relief operations or other areas of interest. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to begin an application.

GET CONNECTED

Follow the Red Cross Gold Country Region on social media for the latest information as it becomes available.

Facebook:
www.facebook.com/RCSierraDelta
www.facebook.com/RedCrossNEC

Twitter:
@RedCrossNECal
@RCSierraDelta

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Gold Country Region serves a twenty-four county territory including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/goldcountry or follow us on Twitter @RCSierraDelta.

 

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Red Cross Continues to Provide Relief to Residents Affected by Oroville Spillway Evacuations

~Despite Evacuation Downgrades, Red Cross Shelters Remain Open~

SACRAMENTO – The American Red Cross is continuing to provide shelter and relief to residents affected by Oroville Dam Spillway evacuations despite a recent downgrade in evacuation status. Shelters will remain open for those who wish to stay outside of the evacuation zones.

As of Tuesday at noon, an estimated 4,800 people were in 28 Red Cross and community shelters. The Red Cross is currently managing four shelter locations where volunteers are providing lodging, hot meals, health services, and comfort. They are:

Silver Dollar Fairgrounds
2357 Fair St.
Chico, CA 95928

Sutter High School
2665 Acacia Avenue
Sutter, CA 95982

Hammon Senior Center
1033 W. Las Palmas
Patterson, CA 95363

California State Fairgrounds – Cal Expo
1600 Expo Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815

The Red Cross is also supporting multiple community shelters throughout the region by providing cots, blankets, comfort kits, and other resources.

Currently, some 130 Red Cross disaster workers are providing shelter, meals and comfort, with more workers and relief supplies on the way to the region to support this massive response. Red Cross health service volunteers in the shelters are assisting those with medical conditions and helping replace medications, one item people can forget to bring when evacuating so quickly. The Red Cross is also working with partners to provide an array of services including pet sheltering and in-kind donations from the community.

HOW TO HELP

Donations: We are thankful to those who would like to donate items for those evacuated, however the Red Cross is not equipped to manage, support, and distribute donated items. Instead, our priority is to get those affected settled at emergency shelters, and to provide supplies to meet immediate needs. Right now, the best way to help is through monetary donations.

Help people affected by disasters like floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Volunteer: The Red Cross is always accepting new volunteers who are interested in supporting disaster relief operations or other areas of interest. Visit redcross.org/volunteer to begin an application.

GET CONNECTED

Follow the Red Cross Gold Country Region on social media for the latest information as it becomes available.

Facebook:
www.facebook.com/RCSierraDelta
www.facebook.com/RedCrossNEC

Twitter:
@RedCrossNECal
@RCSierraDelta

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. The Gold Country Region serves a twenty-four county territory including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba counties. For more information, visit www.redcross.org/goldcountry or follow us on Twitter @RCSierraDelta.

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