Red Cross Media Alerts
  Weather preparations
Given the strong chance of severe weather blowing through central Alabama ths evening, the Birmingham Area Chapter has started a calldown. Our volunteers are being asked to check in with their availability for tonight through tomorrow morning.

If we end up activating any volunteers or shelters, we will post that information here.
  No casework needed
Red Cross disaster assessment volunteers, working with the St. Clair County EMA, have finished checking out the homes that sustained damage from last night's storms.

Almost all of the damage was classified as minor, and not create any emergency needs for those residents. Those affected residents did not indicate any hardships caused by the storm (like a lack of a safe place to stay or inability to access resources).
  Damage Assessment
The Birmingham Area Chapter of the Red Cross has checked with six county EMAs, and the only damage reports from last night's storms are coming out of St. Clair County. St. Clair County EMA is reporting 7 houses with storm damage, one of those houses being vacant. (Bibb, Blount, Jefferson, Shelby, and Walker report no significant damage)

We are assigning volunteers to do disaster assessment, and should have some additional information about the extent of the need later in the day Thursday.
  Weekly test
This is just a test message, to remind you that the Desktop Alert System is active on your machine.

If there is an actual disaster requiring the services of either the American Red Cross or the Jefferson County EMA, you'd see it here first.

If you are reading this off of the Media Alerts Page, please consider downloading and installing the Desktop Alert System -- there is a link to the right of the page.
  Disaster Response Update 4/10/06
Red Cross disaster workers reported today in Alabama, Winston and Jefferson Counties seem to have the most damage from Friday's storm. Red Cross working with local EMA and FEMA teams in Winston County have reported 100 homes with damage. The Red Cross has set up a service delivery site in the Haleyville Conference Center (locally known as the old elementary school) located on 2320 14th Avenue, Haleyville, Alabama.

The center will operate Monday through Saturday 4/10 to 4/15 from 9:00a.m. to 4:00p.m.Our damage assessment reports indicate the following:

Jefferson Co, - 30 apartments and 55 homes - possibly more damaged
Dekalb Co - 1 major damaged home
Calhoun Co. - 1 mobile home damaged
Madison-Marshall Co. - 2 mobile homes damaged
Colbert Co. - 1 mobile home with major damage
Northwest Alabama - 1 home major damage

The Red Cross continues to see clients through outreach and in the Birmingham Service Center while accessing damage across the area. Anyone affected by Friday's storm should contact the chapter at (205) 458-8282

Jean Johnson Petties
Senior Director of Community Relations
American Red Cross
Birmingham Area Chapter
(205) 458-8285
  50+ Disaster Cases
The Birmingham Area Chapter will open more than 50 cases in the Chapter jurisdiction, including some in Winston and Marion Counties. There was wide spread damage in Jefferson County. We will continue to assist the Aspen Run Apartment residents in their relocation needs. All families have been taken care of through the weekend and individual family casework will resume on Monday, April 10th, 2006. Anyone needing emergency assistance should call (205) 458-8282.

Jean Johnson Petties
Senior Manager, Community Relations
  Ike on assignment
Ike Pigott is being deployed to the Gallatin, TN area (north of Nashville) to help deal with national and regional media requests. He will be on the road by 1pm Saturday, and not back until Tuesday morning.

Jean Petties will field local media inquiries, and assist the media in getting appropriate information and access.
  Damage Assessment
Here's a quick look at the damage in the Birmingham Area Chapter jurisdiction:

Bibb - nothing significant
Blount - nothing significant
Jefferson - scattered damage, but nothing concentrated in a single area
Shelby - nothing significant
St. Clair - nothing significant
Walker - nothing significant

More on Jefferson:
The storms passing through Birmingham have done significant damage to the roof at an apartment building off Robert Jemison Road, south of Green Springs and inside the Birmingham City limits.

Aspen Run Apartments
200 Robert Jemison Road

We assisted several residents last night with a place to stay, and are recommending they get additional casework at our Birmingham Service Center.

We have disaster assessment volunteers checking on some of these scattered reports. If we find more need than we currently know about, we'll ramp up as necessary. Our main number (205-458-8282) is being staffed for those needing emergency assistance.

Audio with Ike Pigott,
Public Affairs Officer

this is an audio post - click to play
(Please e-mail Ike if you use this for broadcast)
  Widespread damage
There are widespread reports of minor damage throughout the area. At this time, the Red Cross is trying to identify any locally heavy situations that have left people without a safe place to stay. We're coordinating with the Jefferson County EMA and the Birmingham Fire Department, investigating some of those damage reports.
  Shelter information not yet available
Please help us get out the word, as we are already getting calls from people wanting to know where the Red Cross will locate, open, and operate shelters.

The Red Cross only opens evacuation shelters for those fleeing hurricane zones. We do not open shelters in anticipation of tornado warnings or other severe weather.

We are identifying which shelters would be available and on stand-by should there be significant damage and need related to today's weather. If and when we do open shelters, it will be after the storm has passed, and it will be as close as safely possible to those affected for their own convenience. We will announce them on this page.

  Red Cross on standby for severe weather
With a significant threat of severe weather coming through central Alabama later today, the Birmingham Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is putting volunteers on standby.

We've activated our call system, which will poll 261 local volunteers about their availability should we need the assistance. These volunteers cover a whole range of training and skills, from disaster assessment to family service to shelter operations.

We'll let you know when we start activating Red Cross volunteers and staff, and update shelter information here on an as-needed basis.
  Volunteer deploying
Connie Viteri, a licensed counselor and Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteer, is flying out this afternoon for Memphis to join the relief efforts in western Tennessee.

Her departure time is 5:20pm, from the Delta terminal at the Birmingham International Airport.

She'll be there and available to talk to interested media at 4pm.

E-mail Ike (or call) if you have any further questions.
  More support for Tennessee tornados
The Birmingham Area Chapter has been asked to provide some additional support to the disaster operation in western Tennessee. We're in the process now of nailing down depature information for a Disaster Mental Health Counselor.

More details, and possible interview/video opportunities to be announced as we confirm.


Audio with Ike Pigott, Public Affairs Officer --

Talking about the need for disaster mental health counselors:

this is an audio post - click to play

"The Birmingham Area Chapter has been asked to send some additional support up to western Tennessee -- specifically they are looking for some additional help in what we call Disaster Mental Health. We've got a team of licensed, professional counselors who give some of their time back to the community and affected communities -- helping people cope with the damage and the things that they see. In a lot of cases, the only real barrier some people have to recovering is the emotional toll and impact that a storm like this can cause.

So having some licensed counselors through Red Cross who are able to talk through these folks, and see exactly where they stand and what they might need -- that makes a huge difference in recovery.
  Weekly test
This is a weekly test of the Red Cross/EMA alert system.

We will try to post such messages every Wednesday morning for the next few weeks. If you are having a technical issue with the Alert software, please drop me an e-mail:

Ike Pigott
Public Affairs Officer
Birmingham Area Chapter
  Volunteer: Why I respond
Sound bite with Theodore Childress, a Birmingham Area Chapter volunteer, talking about why he goes on disaster relief assignments:

"Somebody needs help somewhere -- somebody needs help. And I figure if I can do anything to help them, then I will."

this is an audio post - click to play
  Crew leaves at 2pm
Two volunteers from the Birmingham Area Chapter leave later this afternoon for the storm-ravaged counties of western Tennessee.

Theodore Childress and Wheeler Pounds will meet at the chapter headquarters around 2 o'clock, to prepare the Emergency Response Vehicle for deployment. They will make sure it's got a fresh load of snacks and drinks, as well as a supply of food-delivery items like cups and containers.

They are due to arrive at the disaster operations headquarters in Jackson, Tennessee this evening -- and first thing Tuesday, they'll immediately deploy to support search teams and any affected residents who need emergency feeding assistance.

Audio from Billy Baxter, CEO, Birmingham Area Chapter:
this is an audio post - click to play
  Tennessee storms
The American Red Cross is quickly ramping up a response to the storms that hit the midwest last night, with a focus on western Tennessee.

The Emergency Response Vehicle based in Birmingham has been requested, along with at least five others in several states. We'll let you know what time it is to depart as soon as we determine the available staff that will accompany it.

The primary concern right now is ramping up feeding efforts in west Tennessee. There are a sizable number of people missing or unaccounted for -- and the more support we can lend toward the search and rescue operations, the longer they will be able to remain on the job.

More updates as needed...
An up to date feed for media interested in the activities of the Birmingham Area Chapter of the American Red Cross

Chris Osborne
Public Affairs Officer
cell 966-8795

Jean Petties
Sr. Dir., Community Relations
cell 337-1332

Lindsey Leach
Community Relations
cell 966-8793

Birmingham Area Chapter
American Red Cross
Welcome Message

Jefferson County EMA Alerts
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° Weather preparations
° No casework needed
° Damage Assessment
° Weekly test
° Disaster Response Update 4/10/06
° 50+ Disaster Cases
° Ike on assignment
° Damage Assessment
° Widespread damage
° Shelter information not yet available
° Red Cross on standby for severe weather
° Volunteer deploying
° More support for Tennessee tornados
° Weekly test
° Volunteer: Why I respond
° Crew leaves at 2pm
° Tennessee storms
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