Red Cross Here To Open Shelters and Offer Relief From Isaac

Aug 29, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac has prompted the opening of emergency evacuation shelters all over the state. As of right now, East Baton Rouge Parish has no opened shelters.

Nancy Malone is the Red Cross Public Affairs Director for South Louisiana. And she told WRKF's Ashley Westerman that the Red Cross is working with parish officials to open up shelters after the storm threat passes over the area.

MALONE: We have shelters already open in the area in, neighboring Livingston Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish and Ascension Parish. But when the mayor's office called this morning they were asking about what we can do and this is, as he said in his press conference earlier this morning, safety is just paramount right now and nobody should be on the roads. So we're making those preparations for opening shelters as needed after, you know, we can get out on the road in that safe environment. What we've been telling people is call your parish authorities. They're the ones who make the decisions about shelters and we come in and help them open them and so they need to know that there's a need in their community. So if you're able to get to your parish authorities, absolutely call them and let them know.

WESTERMAN: And what if people just need meals? Are the shelters going to be doing that?

MALONE: There will be feeding at the shelters but also when it's safe for us to move, we will have people in - and, in fact, I've got people in my office right now prepared to do this as soon as it's safe to get out - but to serve meals mobily. They will have vehicles going through communities to serve meals and distribute relief items.

WESTERMAN: This storm is expected to cause widespread power outages. Will these shelters have power?

MALONE: You know, that's a good question. It depends. It's not guaranteed. Some of the areas, and I don't know specifically for East Baton Rouge, but some of the parishes we're in, the sites we're at have back-up generators. So there will be some places that may be able to sustain. But there's a very good likelihood we're all in the same boat regarding electricity.

WESTERMAN: Okay, so what is your advice for people who need to have power for refrigerators for insulin and things of that nature?

MALONE: Absolutely, if you have medical needs you need to be connecting with the state. We've got a medical shelter the state has opened out at LSU. We need to get you in touch with people who are doing that.

WESTERMAN: Where is the Red Cross in terms of needing volunteers? Do you all need volunteers right now?

MALONE: Not right now because we don't want people out on the road but we want people to start thinking about it. We're starting to hear again of more closures of offices, state offices, with parish offices, schools that are closing. If you're in a position to help, you know your schedule coming up in the next few days please keep in mind the Red Cross. Because among the things we're going to need, we just talked about people coming out to provide feeding in the neighborhoods and distribute relief supplies, we need local people who know the area because we've had so many volunteers come out of state to help.

WESTERMAN: Nancy Malone with the Red Cross, thank you so much.

MALONE: Great. Thank you.