HOWARD — For those without electricity, the Floral Valley Community Center in Apple Valley provided comfort and shelter from the storm and cold after it opened Wednesday afternoon.
“We decided it was the appropriate place for a shelter after receiving most of the calls from Howard and Apple Valley residents,” said Red Cross Executive Director Kelly Brenneman.
The Red Cross worked with the Emergency Management Agency in determining the area with the most need. During the day Wednesday, 29 people came for a hot meal and warmth.
They had snacks, sandwiches and drinks and for those who needed to stay overnight, cots were put up in the main hall. On Wednesday afternoon a few families were in the lounge. For young people there was ping pong, television and the swimming pool. A couple of children even brought their skate boards and swooped around on the floor in the main hall.
Susan Veallear was in the lounge with her 9-month-old daughter. Her son was swimming and another daughter was playing with other children. Steve and Kathryn Dessert came to the center where Kathryn, a Twin Oak third-grade teacher graded reading papers on the couch with light from the large windows.
“The Red Cross will keep shelters open as long as needed, in addition to providing meals and mental health support to those affected by the storms,” said Brenneman.
As a large number of residents in the area remained without power, the Apple Valley shelter was open to those needing a warm place to sleep for the night.
“One person stayed overnight and we sent two people with medical issues to a motel,” Brenneman said.
The training room behind the Red Cross office on Mulberry Street in Mount Vernon served as another shelter with a roaster full of soap.
Breneman said that although there were residents in the city looking for a place to get a hot meal, no one took advantage of the respite shelter opened at the training facility.
A free breakfast was provided at the Floral Valley shelter this morning for those in need of a hot meal.
The Red Cross offers the following tips for those in the affected area to stay safe:
•Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.
•Avoid driving when conditions include sleet, freezing rain or drizzle, snow or dense fog.
•Before tackling strenuous tasks in cold temperatures, consider your physical condition, the weather factors and the nature of the task.
•Protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.
•Help people who require special assistance such as elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and children.
•Check on your animals and make sure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles. If possible, bring them indoors.
•Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space or any partially enclosed area.
The Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American people to fulfill its mission. To help disaster victims, contact the American Red Cross of Knox County at 740-397-6300. The American Red Cross of Knox County is a United Way Agency.