June 18, 2014
Severe weather has affected families across Southwestern Wisconsin with six confirmed tornadoes, leaving a path of damaged homes and power outages. The Red Cross has been providing comfort and support to thousands. Verona and Platteville were the hardest hit communities. In Verona, trained Red Cross responders have assessed home damages and continue to provide water and relief items.
In Platteville, our emergency response vehicles continue to drive through affected neighborhoods to distribute food, snacks and water. Another team is assessing home damages so we can begin the one-on-one process to assist with recovery. In addition, the Platteville High School Shelter is open for overnight guests or you can stop in during the day for water, snacks, recharge electronics, emotional support and more. Distribution of relief items such as tarps, trash bags, shovels, rakes and gloves will continue through neighborhoods via our Emergency Response Vehicles. In the coming days, we will participate in a Multi-Agency-Resource-Center (MARC) which brings many nonprofit organizations and government agencies together in one convenient location to provide community support.
After the storm, people should return to their neighborhood only when officials say it is safe to do so. They should stay out of damaged buildings, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and sturdy shoes. Residents should avoid fallen power lines or broken gas lines – immediately report them to the utility companies. If you smells gas or hears a hissing noise, you should open a window, get everyone out of the building immediately and call the gas company or fire department. Please use flashlights, not candles, when examining buildings.
With the potential for severe weather expected in parts of Wisconsin over the next several days, the Red Cross is encouraging everyone to download the free tornado app. The app features a siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or been cancelled. People can use the app’s “I’m Safe’ button to let loved ones know they are okay and find the location of Red Cross shelters.
Important Safety Tips!
- Listen to our Tornado App, local news and/or a NOAA weather radio to stay informed about any severe weather watches and warnings in their area.
- Pick a place where family members can gather – the basement, a center hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest floor. Keep this place uncluttered.
- Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
- Watch for tornado danger signs – dark, greenish clouds, a cloud of debris, large hail, a funnel cloud or roaring noise.
- Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or severe winds. If there is access to a sturdy shelter or vehicle, abandon the mobile home immediately and go to that facility. Do not wait until the tornado is in view.
- If someone is caught outdoors, they should seek shelter in a basement or sturdy building. If they can’t do that, they should get into a vehicle, buckle their seat belt and drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If flying debris occurs, they should pull over and park, stay in the vehicle with their head down below the windows, covering their head.
People all across the affected areas need your help now.Please make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
- Donations to Disaster Relief will be used to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. This includes the recent severe weather and nearly 70,000 other disasters we handle every year around the country.
The Red Cross is currently mobilizing registered, trained, disaster response volunteers from local communities. To become a trained disaster responder for future events, visit redcross.org to begin the volunteer application process.