KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The American Red Cross was on the scene across western Missouri on the night of Monday, March 6 and the following days provinding assistance to families and residents, some of which lost their homes and belongings in the ferocity of the storm.

KMZU’s Brian Lock was able to sit down and talk with Steve Adukaitis, who is a Regional Disaster Officer and Team Coordinator for Disaster Relief with the American Red Cross, as well as Duane Hallock, who is the Communications Director for the Kansas City Red Cross. Click below to hear the edited newsmaker interview which aired live on KMZU.

 

“The first concern after an incident like the serious tornadoes of two weeks ago is do people have a safe place to stay?” Adukaitis told KMZU’s Brian Lock. “So Immediately after the storms hit on Monday night, we established two shelters – one in Oak Grove and up in the area north of Smithville to make sure that folks who couldn’t find a place to stay with family or relatives had a safe secure place.”

Adukatis said that no one took advantage of those shelter accommodations, which the Red Cross sees as a positive thing.

“Our second concern is food and hydration. That’s a partner effort,” Adukaitis explained. “We cooperated with the Salavation Army and between our two agencies and some local companies and stores that actually provided a lot of the food, for the first seven to 10 days …we were busy distributing food and snacks and water to the folks engaged in the cleanup of their homes.

The Red Cross exists to provide assistance for disaster relief, and according to their website, they respond to an emergency every eight minutes. Adukatias said that more than 1,000 meals were served in the days after the storm by the Red Cross.

“We also distributed almost 4,600 snacks. We engaged in an effort of going through the neighborhoods and distributed about 2,700 clean up items. Things like shovels and rakes and heavy duty trash bags. “As well as gloves and totes that they could use to secure some of their imporant personal possessions.”

Adukatias spoke to the importance of having a plan when severe weather hits and added that the American Red Cross offers an app which can help you prepare for a storm.

“We are just beginning to enter the traditional tornado season here, which is like late March through May, so this would be a wonderful opportunity for your listeners to think about readiness or preparedness actions.”

Hallock added that a TV isn’t always accessible and having a radio in the event of an emergency could be a good idea.

“When the storm hits, people don’t have a lot of time to think about what they’re going to do so it’s important to think about it beforehand,” Hallock advised. “We encourage people to listen to the radio. The radio is probably the best medium for when people evacuate to, say, the basement. They don’t usually take their television with them but a radio can be a great form of communication.”