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Southern California Wildfires Continue to Threaten Residential Areas
Date:10/22/2007

American Red Cross encourages evacuees to register on Safe and Well Website

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Wildfires continue to rage across Southern California, forcing thousands to evacuate the area. During this ongoing crisis, the Red Cross offers help for those who may feel confused and anxious about the safety of their families and their homes.

The Red Cross urges all those who have evacuated or who expect to evacuate to register their well being on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, available at http://www.redcross.org. This Internet tool allows people in disaster affected areas to register their well-being using several pre-scripted messages. Family and friends can then log on and search for registered individuals to learn of their whereabouts and safety. People without access to a computer or without electricity or connectivity can call the Red Cross (1-800-REDCROSS) for help registering, or contact a loved one to register on their behalf.

Please note that the Safe and Well site safeguards the privacy of the disaster victim. Although these messages will be viewable by friends or family members who conduct a successful search, the site does not reveal a specific location or contact information.

At this time, all residents in Southern California should monitor local news reports and prepare themselves, their families and their homes for a possible evacuation. Residents should be prepared to comply immediately should authorities ask them to evacuate. If you are asked to evacuate, or decide on your own to do so, follow the steps below:

-- Wear protective clothing--sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing,

long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a handkerchief to

protect your face.

-- Take your Disaster Supplies Kit. If you do not have a kit, make sure to

bring your prescription medicines, essential papers (such as the deed

to your home and insurance policies) and identification.

-- Lock your home.

-- Tell someone when you left and where you are going.

-- Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed

and direction of fire and smoke.

For complete information on how everyone can prepare themselves in the event of a disaster, including all the items that should be included in a disaster supplies kit, please visit http://www.redcross.org. Here you will find information on how to Be Red Cross Ready:

-- Get (or re-supply) a Disaster Supplies Kit

-- Make a family communication plan in case of emergency

-- Stay informed by listening to newscasts and local authorities during a

disaster

More information on specific steps you can take to protect your family and your belongings in the event of disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes is available on http://www.redcross.org.

The American Red Cross has helped people mobilize to help their neighbors for 125 years. Last year, victims of a record 72,883 disasters, most of them fires, turned to the nearly 1 million volunteers and 35,000 employees of the Red Cross for help and hope. Through more than 700 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people each year gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Almost 4 million people give blood-the gift of life-through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The Red Cross helps thousands of U.S. service members separated from their families by military duty stay connected. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of more than 180 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world's most vulnerable people. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.


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SOURCE American Red Cross
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