Local help gearing up for tornado victims

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The devastation in six southern states caused by severe weather and tornadoes is something out of a nightmare.

And with the number of dead rising hour by hour, the Southeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the American Red Cross is figuring out ways to help.

"We've been called, and we are recruiting volunteers as we speak," American Red Cross spokesman Dave Shrader told Action News.

The massive loss of life and property is already taking a toll on the residents in the South, including those in Alabama, which was hit the hardest.

Shrader says volunteers from this district will be providing one of the most important services, mental health counseling.

"Whatever they've become accustomed to they suddenly don't have it anymore," he said. "We have people who are specially trained to help them deal with that, help them get over that."

The horrible pictures of disaster raise readiness concerns for emergency management officials here in the tri-state area.

"Severe thunderstorms, damaging winds, heavy snowfall, flooding, those types of natural hazards we have to be prepared for," said Montgomery County Emergency Management Deputy Director Scott Mickalonis.

Mickalonis says the county provides emergency text alerts. You can sign up to receive them by visiting readynotifypa.org.

A weather radio is another good way to get the latest information from the National Weather Service. You can find them in electronics stores like Best Buy or Radio Shack.

Mickalonis also says a kit packed with one gallon of water per family member per day, nonperishable food, a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit and cash will help families weather any storm and save lives.

"We're going to send help right away," said Mickalonis. "But having the capability to help yourself is really what's most important for us."

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philadelphia, pennsylvania, tornado, alabama, center city, red cross, local/state, kenneth moton
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