Red Cross responds to Myrtle Beach, S.C., wildfires

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By Maya Chawla, Senior Communications Specialist, American Red Cross

Photo courtesy of The Charlotte Observer, Janet Blackmon Morgan

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Thursday, April 23 — This morning I awoke to my husband screaming “South Carolina is on fire!” Being a native South Carolinian, I jumped out of bed and wanted to see what the racket was about. I got to the television and learned there was a wildfire in Myrtle Beach. Then, I saw a reporter standing in front of the American Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle. An organization that I work for and love is responding in state that I love, helping those affected by the fires. I have never had a prouder moment.

My buddy, Scott R. Salemme, Chief Executive Officer of the American Red Cross of Central South Carolina, said, “The American Red Cross is providing mass care feeding and sheltering for those displaced by the Horry County wildfires. We are also providing feeding for first responders.”

The Red Cross has opened two shelters and activated two of its emergency response vehicles. Shelters are located at the House of Blues and the North Myrtle Beach Aquatic Center. There are currently 250 people registered in these shelters, and the Red Cross expects many more, since approximately 2,500 citizens have been told to evacuate their homes. As of 11 a.m., the wildfire has burned more than 1,500 acres, destroyed 40 homes and damaged 100 homes. The Red Cross, in partnership with other local non-profits, is ready to feed evacuees and responders.

Salemme continued, “We could not do our work without the support of our wonderful volunteers and community partners. Please donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund today.”

Citizens are reminded that shelters cannot accept pets; however, arrangements have been made with local animal hospitals and rescue organizations to house pets in the interim.

Here are some tips if you are evacuating:

Wear protective clothing–sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a handkerchief to protect your face.

Take your pets. The American Red Cross cannot accept pets in shelters due to FDA regulations; however the Red Cross has partnered with local animal hospitals and rescue organizations to make arrangement for pets. There is limited space for evacuees’ pets at either the Murrells Inlet Veterinary Hospital at 843-651-3355 or the Saint Frances Animal Hospital at 843-249-1988.

Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.

Lock your home.

Tell someone when you left and where you are going.

Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit http://www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://www.redcrosschat.org.

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