American Red Cross of Mid-South

The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

When severe weather strikes, there’s an app for that

Reprinted with permission from ServiceMaster Connect an internal communications document from The ServiceMaster Company, LLC.

June 1, 2017 8:56 pm CDT

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 9.50.47 AMThis past weekend, Memphis experienced the third largest power outage in its history, surpassed only by a 1994 ice storm and Hurricane Elvis in 2003. The recent 105 mph winds left 188,000 MLGW customers without power and an estimated $6 million worth of damage to clean up, but there were no emergency sirens.

“The damage was so severe, and my family was caught off guard on how to handle life without power for four straight days,” said Bethany McRae, email marketing consultant for American Home Shield. “It would have been helpful to know what we needed to prep for a long term outage and what sort of cleanup efforts that take place after large tree devastation.”

When severe weather strikes, it is essential to know what to do before, during and after any storm to help keep you and your loved ones safe. And we have just the tool to help. Last year, ServiceMaster proudly entered into a national partnership with the American Red Cross to be the exclusive sponsor of the American Red Cross Emergency App. This free app alerts communities of significant weather events, in addition to providing expert safety advice on disaster preparedness at your fingertips.

App features include:

  • Ways to prepare for a variety of disasters, including hurricane, flood and fire;
  • Monitoring for more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts;
  • Prioritized steps to take during an emergency;
  • Instant access to all safety information even without mobile connectivity; and
  • Safety and emergency preparedness tips.

Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 9.51.00 AM“One of the great things about this tool is that you can load zip codes of your friends and families to know conditions in their area and make sure they’re safe,” said Rachel Sparks, senior director of Enterprise Risk Management at ServiceMaster.

Sparks volunteers regularly with the MidSouth Chapter of American Red Cross, serves on their Mission Committee and serves as a Pillow Case Instructor teaching hundreds of third graders about fire safety, general preparedness techniques, and what to pack in their pillow case for emergency situations. Needless to say, she’s definitely who you want around when an emergency happens. She stated that there are two important things to stress the most after power outages: food safety and fire hazards.

“It is very important to throw out any food that may have gone bad. If you are not certain that refrigerated food has been kept colder than 40 degrees, just throw it out,” said Sparks. “Also, power surges are a huge concern when the power comes back on. Be sure to unplug all of your household electronics, and please make sure that stoves are Screen Shot 2017-06-02 at 9.51.13 AMturned off – fires sometimes happen when power comes back on because people don’t realize that the stove was on.”

Rachel not only helps others prepare for emergencies, but she also helps after disasters as well. “I’m actually volunteering tomorrow,” said Sparks. “We always need volunteers immediately after a life changing event, but many people don’t realize how much volunteers are needed weeks or even months after an emergency.”

For more information about the American Red Cross or how you can help in times of need, please visit http://www.redcross.org/local/tennessee/localchapters/ midsouth.

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This entry was posted on June 2, 2017 by in Uncategorized.

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