DETROIT (WWJ) - Red Cross volunteers from Michigan are preparing to head south to help with recovery efforts after a tornado at least a half-mile wide roared through Oklahoma City suburbs, killing at least 24 people.
Speaking live on WWJ, Red Cross Spokesperson Allison Koenigbauer said their first priority is to ensure survivors' basic needs are met.
"The first thing we do is take care of the needs of the people and go out into the neighborhoods and make sure they're comforted with food and water, and also provide food and water to the first responders who have been working all night long. We'll also open shelters right away for all of the people to evacuate to," she said.
Koenigbauer said disaster volunteers typically get a 24-hour notice for deployments.
"We have about 25 vehicles standing by, and we have many volunteers who are just waiting for daybreak so they can get there and begin helping people with this horrible tragedy," she said.
During the next few days, Red Cross workers on the ground in the disaster areas will be assessing the damage, deciding where and what kind of additional support is necessary, and determining the needs of the affected communities.
The Red Cross encourages people who have friends or family in the affected areas to check the Red Cross Safe and Well website at redcross.org/safeandwell. Tornado survivors are also encouraged to register on the Safe and Well website.
People can also be prepared for severe weather by downloading the Red Cross Tornado App. The free app has tips on what to do before, during, and after a tornado hits. It also has a warning siren and watch and warning weather alerts. It is available for download on any iOS or Android device.
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