Red Cross Prepares For Karen - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Red Cross Prepares For Karen

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Today the Pine Belt saw nothing but blue skies, but that could all change soon.

"I live in a mobile home and they're really not safe in bad weather," Hattiesburg Resident Aquia Franklin said.

She said she is concerned about the dangers of Tropical Storm Karen.  However, as far as preparation...

"I haven't really done anything as of yet," she admitted.

According to the American Red Cross, Franklin is not alone.  Out of everyone who is worried they may be in harm's way, only about 1/2 of them have an evacuation plan and 1/3 have emergency kits.

Red Cross volunteer John Brown says even with a small storm, the power could go out.

"We want you to be in a position where you can take care of yourself for 48 to 72 hours that we can get the assistance to you," Brown said.

He said the Red Cross must take action days before a storm hits in order to better serve the public.

"We'll start communicating to the public, start gearing up our shelters, start gearing up our response and make sure we have everything in place and calling our volunteers," Brown said.

The Red Cross' Hattiesburg office was blown away by the February 10 tornado, but Brown said they are fully functioning based in their supply center downtown.

"While we may not have a physical place right now, believe me it's gearing up, and we're able to respond at any given moment," Brown assured.

He said one of the best ways the public can gear up is to download the Red Cross App compatible with tablets and smart phones.

Besides the signal warning users that a watch or warning is issued in their area, those who download the app can find information on what to do before, during and after a storm.

There's also a service where people can directly send a message to their social media page letting loved ones know they are safe.

This information can also be found at www.redcross.org/mississippi

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