Neighbors Help Neighbors Where Tornado Tore Through

“It was one amazing thing to see.”

Kristen Gallagher, Disaster Program Specialist in the Lake to River Chapter, was not describing the damage she saw, following the tornado that hit Williamsfield, Ohio Sunday night.

Kristen was describing the scene on Monday morning, when she witnessed neighbors repairing each other’s homes, securing tarps where the twister ripped off roofs and tore away walls, and clearing roadways for vehicles, including the horses and buggies of the Amish residents of Williamsfield.

“Who knew their horses and buggies went off-road!” said Kristen, as she described the clean-up efforts.  “It was very heartwarming to see them all in action just hours after the tornado did so much damage.”

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Photo credit: Kristen Gallagher, American Red Cross
Cover photo credit: Melissa Papini, American Red Cross

The severe weather affected a number of counties throughout Northeast Ohio.  The Red Cross response included volunteers supporting a city warming center in Brunswick Hills during an extended power outage, opening a shelter in the Twinsburg Community Center, where there were 17 overnight stays on Monday and Tuesday, and distributing more than $8,500 in immediate financial assistance for 15 families in Ashland, Erie, Cuyahoga, Wayne and Ashtabula Counties.

But the Amish families in Williamsfield politely declined help offered by the Red Cross. “They have each other,” Kristen said.  “They are an amazing community where everyone is helping and looking out for each other.”

Everything You Need to Know in New All-in-One Red Cross Emergency App

The new, all-inclusive Emergency App from the American Red Cross provides people with instant access to emergency alerts, life-saving information, and ways to contact family and friends in one free, easy-to-use app for smart phones and tablets.Emergency App

The Emergency App is a single ‘go-to’ source for everything from home fires to hurricanes. It includes content from a group of award-winning Red Cross apps with additional information about what to do in case of 14 different types of emergencies and disasters. Users can customize more than 35 emergency alerts based on their location and where loved ones live.

The app includes a new featured called “Family Safe” that allows the app user to notify loved ones who are in an area affected by an emergency or disaster. The recipient can instantly see the alert details as well as specific “what to do now” steps, and then respond with either “I’m safe” or “I’m not safe.” This feature works even if the recipient has not downloaded the Emergency App. In addition to smartphones and tablets, this feature will be available on the new Apple Watch and can be downloaded from the Apple Watch App Store starting April 24.

Other important features include:

  • Emergency first aid information for situations such as heart attacks, heat-related emergencies as well as water safety information;
  • Preloaded content so users can access guidance from Red Cross experts even without mobile connectivity;
  • A single map with open Red Cross shelter locations and weather information;
  • A home fire section with detailed prevention and safety tips as well as Red Cross “After the Fire” information;
  • “Make a Plan” feature to help families plan what to do and where to go if a disaster strikes; and
  • The ability to easily toggle between English and Spanish.

The app is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.

Red Cross apps have been downloaded more than 6 million times and nearly 400 million alerts have been sent since the launch of the first app in 2012. While apps can help prepare someone for disasters, it’s important to note that they are not substitutes for training. People can take Red Cross First Aid and CPR/AED courses so they’ll know what to do in case help is delayed. They can get information and register at redcross.org/TakeAClass.