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Red Cross Advises Evacuees to Stay Put Until Conditions Are Safe
Date:9/2/2008

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Although what was once Hurricane Gustav has weakened to a tropical depression, the American Red Cross urges all evacuees to stay away from affected areas until authorities deem it safe to return.

"We know people are eager to go home, especially if they think the danger has passed," said Joe Becker, Senior Vice President of Disaster Services. "However, we ask that people be patient, since conditions are still unsafe in many places." If authorities have not given the all-clear for residents to return, they could be denied entry into their community. It is still hazardous to return to many areas, as Gustav has caused flooding and massive power outages, as well as downed power lines and trees. Tornadoes are also possible in the wake of the storm.

For residents still in the path of Tropical Depression Gustav who are experiencing power outages, the Red Cross offers this advice:

-- Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles.

-- Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.

-- Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.

-- Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.

-- If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.

-- Listen to local radio and television for updated information.

The Red Cross has 343 shelters open in 10 states, housing a population of nearly 60,000 people. Its many workers are providing evacuees with food, shelter and emotional support, and are prepared to do so until it is safe for people to go home. The Red Cross is also preparing to move into storm-hit areas in order to provide services to returning residents. Gustav has cost the Red Cross $20 million to date.

The Red Cross is now readying itself as a busy Atlantic Ocean brings tropical storms Hanna, Ike and Josephine.
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SOURCE American Red Cross
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