Jun 23, 2023

Red Cross Responds as Hurricane Idalia Makes Florida Landfall

Philip Ward of the American Red Cross unloads supplies that will be sent to shelters throughout the region as part of the Hurricane Idalia relief response. The supplies are stored at the Red Cross headquarters in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Scott Dalton/American Red Cross.)

Hundreds of American Red Cross disaster responders are supporting people after Hurricane Idalia rapidly intensified before making landfall in Florida as a Category 3 storm with destructive winds and an extremely dangerous storm surge.

Idalia came ashore in Florida’s Big Bend region. Hurricane conditions are expected along the Gulf Coast and inland across northern Florida and southern Georgia. Idalia could be at tropical storm strength when it moves into the Carolinas. Considerable impacts from flooding are possible from Florida through Georgia and the Carolinas.

More than 267,000 Florida customers are without power, and that number will rise as the storm moves across the state. Officials warn the power could be out for an extended period in some areas. States of emergency have been declared in Georgia and both North Carolina and South Carolina as the storm approaches.

As a result of the climate crisis, scientists warn that hurricanes are becoming more intense and more destructive with increased rainfall and higher storm surges. As extreme weather increases, more people need help from the Red Cross. Find out more about the Red Cross and its work on the climate crisis at

RED CROSS RESPONSE Tuesday night almost 5,000 people found a safe place to stay in 111 evacuation shelters across Florida. Of these, the Red Cross is directly managing 17 shelters with some 560 residents. In Georgia, one shelter was opened Tuesday night. We anticipate this number will increase throughout the day as the storm moves north.

In advance of Idalia, the Red Cross mobilized more than 500 disaster responders to help, along with 45 specialty response vehicles and truckloads of supplies. This includes technology equipment, some 100,000 ready-to-eat meals and enough shelter supplies to support 20,000 individuals. Additional volunteers and emergency supplies are on standby in case they are needed. When it is safe to do so, Red Cross disaster responders will begin damage assessment and support partners as evacuation centers transition to congregate shelters.

The Red Cross also stocked hospitals in the Florida Panhandle with additional blood products to ensure they are able to keep adequate inventory on the shelves if transportation routes are impacted. In addition, the Red Cross pre-positioned blood products in other areas of the Southeast in advance of the storm and stands ready to provide additional blood products if hospitals need support.

As Idalia heads to Georgia and the Carolinas, we are preparing to respond if necessary and getting disaster workers and supplies ready to deploy as needed.

FIND A SHELTER To make sure people have a safe place to stay during Idalia, Red Cross disaster workers and community partners are opening and supporting evacuation centers and shelters. Anyone who needs a safe place to go can find information on, the free Red Cross Emergency app or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767).

You can also check with local officials and monitor local news for information on where to find emergency shelter. In Florida, visit

We encourage people who plan to stay in a shelter or evacuation center to bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Don’t forget to bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.

Download the free Emergency app for instant access to full weather alerts, help preparing for emergency situations and locations of open Red Cross shelters. Content can be viewed in English or Spanish, and is accessible for people with disabilities. Red Cross apps are available in the app store as well as on

YOU CAN HELP by making a financial donation or by scheduling a blood donation.

Idalia has forced the cancellation of more than a dozen blood drives and donation centers, resulting in hundreds of blood and platelet donations going uncollected. The Red Cross is already experiencing a concerning shortfall in donations. Those in unaffected areas are urged to make and keep blood donation appointments to ensure we can meet the needs of patients whenever and wherever they arise. Schedule an appointment to donate blood today using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Help people affected by Hurricane Idalia by visiting, by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (800-733-2767) or texting the word IDALIA to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Blood donations are also critically important to ensure patient needs are met. Financial contributions to Hurricane Idalia enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.

Our volunteers are at the heart of our mission and represent 90% of our workforce. Visit to sign up for opportunities with your local chapter. Our most-needed disaster positions include supporting shelters and providing health services.

FLOODING SAFETY Turn around, don’t drown. Stay off the roads. If you must drive and encounter a flooded roadway while driving, turn around and go another way.

If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary. Follow evacuation routes and do not try to take shortcuts because they may be blocked. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.

Head for higher ground and stay there. Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.

THE POWER IS OUT Use flashlights in the dark — not candles. Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment and appliances. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. Leave one light on, so you’ll know when power is restored.

During a prolonged outage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to protect your food. Use perishable food from the refrigerator first, then, food from the freezer. If the power outage continues beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. Keep food in a dry, cool spot and cover it at all times.

IF YOU ARE USING A GENERATOR, keep it dry and don’t use it in wet conditions. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage, basement or other partially enclosed area. Keep this equipment outside and away from doors, windows and vents, which could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) Through the generosity of our American Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP) and Disaster Responder members, the American Red Cross is prepared before disaster strikes. ADGP and Disaster Responder members help secure a reliable funding base for disaster relief services that enables the Red Cross to respond immediately, meeting the needs of individuals and families affected by disaster, regardless of cost.

ADGP $1M Members: Amazon; American Airlines; Anheuser-Busch Foundation; Bank of America; Best Buy; Caterpillar Foundation; Costco Wholesale ; Delta Air Lines; Elevance Health Foundation; Enterprise Rent-A-Car Foundation; FedEx; Lilly Endowment Inc.; Lowe's Companies, Inc.; McDonald’s Corporation; Microsoft Corp.; Nationwide Foundation; PayPal; PetSmart Charities; The Pfizer Foundation; The Starbucks Foundation; State Farm; Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited; Truist Foundation; VSP Vision; Walmart and the Walmart Foundation; Wells Fargo

ADGP $500k Members: Altria Group; American Express; Aon; Bread Financial; Capital One; CarMax; Citi Foundation; The Clorox Company; Danaher Foundation; Darden Foundation; Delta Dental; Dollar General; Edison International; Energy Transfer/Sunoco Foundation; Ford Motor Company Fund; Fox Corporation; General Motors;; HCA Healthcare; The Home Depot Foundation; International Paper; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson Controls Foundation; Kaiser Permanente; The Kraft Heinz Company Foundation; The Kroger Co. Foundation; Liberty Mutual Insurance; Lockheed Martin Corporation; Mastercard; Merck; Mondelēz International Foundation; New Balance Foundation; PepsiCo Foundation; Salesforce; Southeastern Grocers Gives Foundation & Southeastern Grocers, home of Fresco y Más, Harveys Supermarket and Winn-Dixie; Target; The TJX Companies, Inc; Toyota; United Airlines; UPS; USAA; U.S. Bank Foundation; Visa Foundation; The Walt Disney Company; The Wawa Foundation

Disaster Responder Members: 7-Eleven Cares Foundation; Adobe; The AES Corporation; Ameriprise Financial; Assurant; AvalonBay Communities, Inc.; Avangrid Foundation Barclays; Big 5 Sporting Goods; Build-A-Bear Foundation; CDW; Choice Hotels International; Cisco Foundation; CNA Insurance; The Coca-Cola Foundation; DHL Supply Chain; The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation; Discover; Duke Energy; Dutch Bros Foundation; Equitable; FirstEnergy Corporation; Harbor Freight Tools Foundation, LLC; Hewlett Packard Enterprise Foundation; HP Foundation; Keurig Dr Pepper; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; The Labcorp Charitable Foundation; Lenovo Foundation; LHC Group; LKQ; Macy’s, Inc.; Major League Baseball; Marathon Petroleum Foundation, Inc.; Martin Marietta; Mattress Firm; McKesson Foundation; MetLife Foundation; The Middleby Corporation; Neiman Marcus Group; NextEra Energy, Inc.; Northrop Grumman; Northwestern Mutual; Old Dominion Freight Line; Organon; Pacific Life Foundation; Prudential; Raytheon Technologies; Reckitt; Rodan + Fields Prescription for Change Project, a project of New Venture Fund; Ross Stores Foundation; Ryder System, Inc.; Santander; Security Finance’s Lending Hand Foundation; ServiceNow; Southwest Airlines; Stanley Black & Decker; Tata Consultancy Services; U-Haul International; Zurich

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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