Transcript: Red Cross Senior VP Charles Shimanski’s remarks on Hurricane Sandy

Transcript of remarks by Red Cross Senior Vice President of Disaster Services Charles Shimanski on Hurricane Sandy at a press briefing on Oct. 31, 2012:

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

As the Secretaries and Dr. Knabb both already indicated, this is a very and extensive storm. The Red Cross is operational in 16 states – essentially an area as large as Europe.

Secretary Napolitano already reported on the extensive sheltering operations that are taking place across those states.

The Red Cross has activated more than 200 response vehicles throughout the states to circulate through communities and distribute meals, waters, and snacks in key areas.

We’ve already mobilized more than 2,300 of our volunteers and disaster workers. We will be mobilizing and moving thousands more from across the country.

We’re working hard to make sure to get help where help is needed but as Secretary LaHood indicated access is a bit of an issue in some places.

We are pushing heavily more resources. We’re active in every one of the state emergency operations center in the affected states. We’re active in FEMA’s National Response Coordination Center. And we’re working alongside the very strong leadership at FEMA.

This response is very large and very costly. Many of our Red Cross blood drives have already been canceled due to the storm. More cancellations are expected but we could see as much as 10,500 blood and platelet products reduced in our blood services program. So we’re encouraging the public to remember to make a blood donation by visiting RedCrossBlood.org or by calling 1-800-Red-Cross.

I want to remind people about our hurricane app as well, which can be downloaded from Apple Apps store and the Google Play Store. It includes an eye on the state feature that with a push of one button, people can indicate through social media like Facebook that they’re safe and let their loved ones know that they’re all safe.

Important to note that this is going to be a costly and extensive operation for the American Red Cross and we can’t do the work we do without the charitable contributions of the American public. We want to encourage folks to visit RedCross.org to make a donation, to call 1-800-Red-Cross or text the word ‘Red Cross’ to 90999 to make a $10 contribution. These gifts are the only ways we’re really able to provide the shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance when people are impacted by disasters.

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