Here's what the Red Cross needs you to do right now

Here's what the Red Cross needs you to do right now

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The shelter, located at the Multipurpose Center in Hattiesburg (942 Sullivan Road) will remain open today for residents impacted by the devastating tornado.

Families will have a safe place to stay, food, and be provided with personal items if needed.

All Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money.

The American Red Cross has activated volunteers and resources to help the residents that were affected by last night's tornadoes that impacted 6 counties.  If you would like to volunteer to help, call 601-582-8151.

The Red Cross is working close with government and community partners to facilitate the development of the coordinated community response & recovery plans.

People should let friends and relatives know that they are safe by updating their Facebook and other social media accounts or registering on the Red Cross Safe and Well website.

More severe weather is expected to move through parts of Mississippi today and the Red Cross is prepared to activate additional volunteers and resources.

What to Do During a Tornado

  • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room.
  • If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
  • Mobile homes are not safe during tornadoes or other severe winds.
  • Do not seek shelter in a hallway or bathroom of a mobile home.
  • If you have access to a sturdy shelter or a vehicle, abandon your mobile home immediately.
  • Go to the nearest sturdy building or shelter immediately, using your seat belt if driving.
  • Do not wait until you see the tornado.
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building. If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter:
  • Immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter.
  • If flying debris occurs while you are driving, pull over and park. Now you have the following options as a last resort:
  • Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, covering with your hands and a blanket if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands.

Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

What to Do After a Tornado

  • Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
  • If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining your walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage.
  • Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and report them to the utility company immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights when examining buildings – do NOT use candles.
  • If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and get everyone out of the building quickly and call the gas company or fire department.
  • Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance claims.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Keep all of your animals under your direct control.
  • Clean up spilled medications, bleaches, gasoline or other flammable liquids that could become a fire hazard.
  • Check for injuries. If you are trained, provide first aid to persons in need until emergency responders arrive