DAYTON – Early Tuesday morning, deadly tornadoes moved through Tennessee, destroying lives and property. At least 24 people were killed with hundreds of others injured.
The Red Cross has volunteers and staff on the ground in the Nashville area, providing comfort and support to the people affected. With the help of its partners, Red Cross have opened six shelters where more than 100 people spent Tuesday night.
The first priority in any disaster is to meet the most basic lifesaving needs of those affected, such as providing a warm, safe place to stay, meals, health and mental health care.
As people begin to clean up their homes and cope with power outages, Red Cross emergency vehicles are delivering meals and relief supplies throughout the hardest hit communities. Over the coming days and weeks, the Red Cross will continue working with local and state officials to determine what additional help is needed.
Red Cross volunteers, in the Dayton Area and Northern Miami Valley chapters, are standing by ready to deploy to the Nashville area when called upon. It’s expected these volunteers will be sent down to spell those Red Cross workers who have been on the job since the tornado touched down.
The Nashville tornado, and the tornadoes which struck the Dayton area last spring, are stark reminders that life-altering disasters can strike at any time. As severe weather season is ready to begin, the best defense is to be educated and prepared.
Know the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means a tornado is possible. A tornado warning means a tornado is already occurring or will occur soon. Go to your safe place immediately. Watch for tornado danger signs: dark, often greenish clouds, wall cloud, cloud of debris.
• Know your community’s warning system. Many communities use sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
• Identify a safe place in your home to gather – a basement, storm cellar or interior room on the lowest floor with no windows. A small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
• If you have time, move or secure items outside that can be picked up by the wind.
• If you live in a mobile home, find a safe place in a nearby sturdy building. No mobile home is safe in a tornado.
• If you have access to a sturdy shelter or a vehicle, go there immediately, using your seat belt if driving.
• If you are outside, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
• If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter, immediately get into a vehicle and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. Remember to buckle your seat belt.
• Stay away from bridge/highway overpasses.
• If strong winds and flying debris occurs while driving, pull over and park, keeping your seat belt on and engine running. Put your head down below the windows, covering your head with your hands and a blanket.
• Bring your companion animals indoors and maintain direct control of them.
• Download the Red Cross Emergency App, which is available for free in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
Individuals can help people affected by disasters, like the Nashville tornado, and other disasters big and small, by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800 RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
The Red Cross is proud that an average of 90 cents of every dollar is spent on delivering care and comfort to those affected. This spending includes shelter, food, relief items, health and emotional support, and financial assistance, as well as the logistics and support needed for its volunteers to help people. It also includes the vehicles, warehouses and people that make relief possible.