Friday, May 9, 2014

Red Cross Offers Home Safety Precautions as Lincoln County Tornado Recovery Efforts Continue

As local residents continue picking up the pieces and moving or rebuilding after the tornado, the Red Cross would like to share some important tips and also thank the local community for their combined response efforts. 

“We appreciate the 120 Red Cross workers that traveled from all over the state of Tennessee to help in this relief effort,” said Heart of Tennessee Chapter Executive, Mike Cowles.  “We are also very grateful to all of the other churches, community agencies and local citizens who were able to help with the clean-up and rescue operations in the aftermath of this devastating tornado.  No one entity can respond to a disaster and we always rely on the community to be resilient, just as the residents of Lincoln County have demonstrated over the past few weeks.”

The Red Cross encourages those in tornado-prone areas to use the Tornado Safety Checklist, which provides information on what you can do before, during and after a tornado strikes and offers these tips to residents as they continue their recovery efforts.

As you rebuild:

  • Strengthen existing garage doors to improve the wind resistance, particularly double-wide garage doors.
  • If your home has been significantly damaged and will require rebuilding parts or all of it, consult with your contractor about having a tornado safe room built during the process. A tornado safe room can save lives. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA web site.
Ask a professional to:

  • Look at common connections in wood frame buildings and add anchors, clips and straps that will provide more strength to your home.
  • Reinforce masonry walls that provide structural support to your home. Secure your chimney. Masonry chimneys that extend more than six feet above the roof or have a width of 40 inches or more should have continuous vertical reinforcing steel placed in the corners to provide greater resistance to wind loads.
  • Permanently connect your manufactured home to its foundation to decrease the potential for damage from high winds.
Red Cross continues to provide comfort and support to help thousands of people across many states that have been hit hard by severe storms over the past two weeks. More than 3,000 homes across 10 states have been destroyed or heavily damaged by tornadoes or floods since April 25. 

In Lincoln County, the Tennessee Volunteer Region served over 4,440 meals and snacks to emergency workers and those affected by the tornadoes. More than 4,800 individual clean-up items such as rakes, shovels, garbage bags, work gloves and other clean-up supplies have also been distributed throughout the impacted community.  Red Cross caseworkers have been meeting one-on-one with people to create recovery plans, navigate paperwork and locate help from other agencies.  More than 96 cases have already been opened to support to families and individuals.  Anyone that still needs assistance is encouraged to contact the Red Cross at (615) 893-4272 to be connected with a caseworker.

In the immediate aftermath of the tornado, the Red Cross activated their partnership with Goodwill, and collected donated items from the public. In exchange for the donations, Red Cross has been provided Goodwill Cares gift cards that Red Cross caseworkers will be using to meet the needs of those affected by the recent disaster.  These Goodwill Cares gift cards can be used at any Goodwill store and will allow those who have been impacted by the disaster to pick out exactly what they need to assist in their individual recovery.

The Red Cross initially opened an emergency shelter and also had several locations in the community that were open last week and over the weekend for people to receive first aid assistance, meals and snacks and to pick up clean-up supplies and other relief items. The Red Cross also opened a Multi-Agency Resource Center, where affected residents met with representatives of various organizations who connected them with the resources they needed.

The Heart of Tennessee Chapter, which is part of the Tennessee Volunteer Region, serves residents of Lincoln, Bedford, Cannon, Coffee, Franklin, Marshall, Moore and Rutherford counties.

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