The American Red Cross is responding across multiple states as Hurricane Florence begins to pound coastal and inland communities with catastrophic flooding and life-threatening tidal surges. The Red Cross is ready to provide shelter for tens of thousands of people until they can return home or find other places to stay.

More than 1,500 Red Cross disaster workers are on the ground to provide safe shelter and relief for thousands hunkering down as Florence charges the coast. This week, the Red Cross worked around the clock to make urgent preparations in critical areas, including the Carolinas and Virginia, to stand ready to provide refuge, food, and care to as many as 100,000 people in need of emergency shelter. The Red Cross is preparing to respond to Hurricane Florence across as many as 11 states and has mobilized additional volunteers, as well as some 80 emergency response vehicles and more than 120 trailers full of equipment and relief supplies.

Hurricane Florence: Chicago Red Cross volunteers Tim Zeller and Terry Nosal

Chicago Red Cross volunteers Tim Zeller and Terry Nosal head out to help when Hurricane Florence hits.

Chicago Red Cross volunteers Tim Zeller and Terry Nosal are two out of 20 local volunteers and staff members who have departed to provide relief to areas in the path of Hurricane Florence. Florence is not just a coastal storm but will also affect inland communities as it moves away from the coast. There could be catastrophic flash flooding in areas already waterlogged from earlier storms.

Hurricane Florence: Red Cross volunteer Steve Weis

Steve Weis is in Durham, North Carolina helping run a mega shelter where affected citizens will be provided with food and shelter. He deployed to support the 2017 hurricane relief efforts, too.

In order to prepare for the storm, Red Cross urges these three steps:

1. Build a disaster kit.

2. Come up with an emergency plan.

3. Be informed about how local authorities will notify you, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. If you already have a disaster kit, replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies.

Red Cross also suggests downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App to have real time information about the storm, open Red Cross shelter locations, and hurricane safety tips at your fingertips. More than 1.8 million weather alerts have been sent through Red Cross apps to help people make lifesaving decisions. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

What you can do to help

The Red Cross depends on financial donations to be able to provide disaster relief immediately. Help people affected by Hurricane Florence by visiting redcross.org,calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word FLORENCE to 90999 to make a $10 donation. 

Learn more about the Red Cross response