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  • Writer's pictureNEIA Red Cross

Red Cross Responds to Derecho During Pandemic

Updated August 14, 2020 - 1 p.m. — As thousands of Iowans remain without power following Monday’s derecho, the Red Cross is working with local partners and emergency officials to ensure that affected individuals and families are getting the immediate assistance they need. A team of volunteers has overcome challenges of limited communications and power outages this week to provide hotel lodging and meals to hundreds whose homes were severely damaged.

Disasters continue, even during pandemics, which is why the Red Cross disaster response is different in this COVID-19 environment. Because of necessary safety precautions, the preferred method for sheltering is through hotel lodging. If necessary, the Red Cross will open congregate shelters.

A congregate shelter has been opened at the Palo Community Center (2800 Hollenbeck Road, Palo, Iowa 52304). Red Cross volunteers are there to assist anyone who has been impacted by this storm and power outages.

Those in need of assistance should call 1-800-RED-CROSS and select option “4”, then option “2”, then option “2” again.

Power outage safety is of the utmost importance. The Red Cross has the following tips for those still without power, following the devastating storms.

  • Use flashlights, instead of candles in dark.

  • Eliminate any unnecessary travel when traffic and streetlights are out.

  • Throw out any unsafe, perishable food. Perishable refrigerated food is only safe for four hours in an unopened refrigerator. A full freezer can keep food good for up to 48 hours.

  • Store any non-perishable food in cool, dry places at all times.

  • Turn off or unplug electronics. A power surge can damage appliances and sensitive electronics.

  • Be sure to understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and practice generator safety.

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