Apr 18, 2013 8:27 PM by Faye DeHoff

How you can help the victims of the Texas tragedy and Boston bombings

WASHINGTON - The American Red Cross is supporting people in West, Texas after the plant explosion there while continuing to help first responders and those affected by the marathon bombings which occurred earlier this week in Boston. In addition, local chapters in the Midwest are responding to the severe weather threat there.

"Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this week's tragic events in Texas and Boston," said Trevor Riggen, vice president of Disaster Operations for the Red Cross. "Our teams are on the ground now helping those in need and we will continue to work in close coordination with officials in Texas and Boston to determine how we can best support these communities as they recover."

WEST, TEXAS EXPLOSION: Within hours of the plant explosion in Texas, the Red Cross opened a shelter and began supporting a community response center. Red Cross disaster workers have been deployed from all over the state and are providing emotional support and health services with relief items such as comfort kits and water enroute to the region. Red Cross Blood Services is providing blood products to help those injured in the explosion.

MARATHON BOMBINGS: In Boston, the Red Cross is providing emotional support and health and spiritual care services at the various community vigils and supporting a family assistance center. Red Cross Blood Services has provided about 500 blood products to several hospitals in the Boston area. Nearly 150 disaster workers have deployed to provide support and comfort. Since Monday, the Red Cross has served about 7,000 meals and snacks, distributed relief items like blankets and comfort kits and provided hundreds of mental health and health services to those affected.

SEVERE WEATHER: Red Cross chapters throughout the Midwest are also preparing for severe weather and flooding as rain and winds continue to move through that part of the country. Volunteers and shelters are ready in several states if needed.

HOW TO HELP: This week's tragedies prove that an emergency can happen anywhere, at anytime. While the Red Cross helps in Texas and Boston, it is preparing to respond to severe weather and flooding in other areas of the country. To support Red Cross disaster response, people can donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief at: <> or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. People who want to make a donation to directly support victims of the Boston Marathon bombings can visit: <>.

The Red Cross has enough blood in its inventory now to support both the situation in Texas as well as Boston but reminds everyone that the need for blood is constant. Those who are eligible to give blood are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment to give in the days and weeks ahead by calling 1-800-RED CROSS or visiting: <>.

Many rushed in to provide immediate help for victims of the explosions in Texas and Boston. People can register for a Red Cross First Aid/CPR class at: <> or take the Family First Aid and CPR
class online by visiting: <>.

They can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App <> which puts simple lifesaving information for first aid emergencies in the hands of smart phone and tablet users. The app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

STEPS TO HELP COPE: It has been a difficult week for people across the country. In times like these, it is important for people to connect with and support each other. The Red Cross has information people can use to cope in the aftermath of these tragedies. <>
For free counseling or support which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, people can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.


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