Press Release: Wisconsin

Red Cross adapts disaster operation for changing weather conditions
Severe weather Thursday expands Red Cross role in Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jeffery Biggs at Office: (571) 918-5547; Cell: (334) 343-3436

MADISON, Wis., June 12, 2008 – A new round of severe weather Thursday prompted the American Red Cross disaster relief operation in Wisconsin to expand its role of service delivery to a larger percentage of the population after confirmed reports of increased flooding and tornado touchdowns struck the state.

“Although Red Cross workers from outside of the state of Wisconsin are here, the team of staff and volunteers is preparing to move into action in order to assist with this new round of severe weather,” said Jeffery Biggs, public affairs manager for the disaster relief operation in Wisconsin. “One of the great things about the American Red Cross is our ability to adapt to the changing conditions that arise during any disaster operation.”

The new round of severe weather has prompted the following actions by the Red Cross disaster relief operation:

  • In Platteville, a tornado touchdown was confirmed and the Red Cross is preparing to move resources into the affected area, including cots, blankets, comfort kits, and disaster mental health workers. In addition, the Red Cross is preparing to make available additional shelter locations due to the possible evacuation by local officials of the South Lancaster area due to flooding and tornado damage.
  • In Avoca, the Red Cross has moved its shelter to the Muscoda Middle School due to additional flooding now affecting the area.
  • In Baraboo, rising waters have prompted the organization to prepare to open additional shelters in the area.
  • As the Crawfish and Rock Rivers continue to rise, the Red Cross is remaining in communication with local and state emergency management officials in case any additional services are needed.
  • Due to rising flood waters the organization has opened shelters in Fort Atkinson and Janesville, and is preparing to open additional shelters throughout the state if needed.
  • The Red Cross has also opened a shelter at Montello High School to support the Osh Kosh Chapter due to flood waters affecting that chapter’s territory.

“No two disasters are ever the same, and each disaster presents its own unique set of challenges,” Biggs added. “However, the local chapters of the American Red Cross are doing an excellent job with this new set of challenges, and the disaster relief operation currently underway is ready to – and will continue to – support them in every way possible.”

If you or your family would like to be better prepared or are forced to leave your home due to weather conditions, the Red Cross has recommendations to make the move easier.

“We encourage everyone to make a plan and have a ‘go kit’ that contains enough water, nonperishable food, and clothing for their family,” Biggs said. “In addition, we recommend that you let your family know you are relocating due to the emergency. We encourage people evacuating to take advantage of our Safe and Well web site at http://www.redcross.org, and register so their family outside the affected area will have a way to know all is OK. If they are unable to access the internet, people can call 1-800-RED-CROSS and register with Safe and Well that way.”

As the situation continues to evolve, the disaster relief operation will continue to evolve with it and will do everything it can to keep the public informed with the latest information on its operation.

If you would like to help the American Red Cross in its response operation, the best way to help at this time is to make a financial contribution to the Disaster Relief Fund by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS, online at www.redcross.org, or by visiting or contacting your local chapter.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like Midwest Tornadoes and Floods, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting www.redcross.org.

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