American Red Cross: Prepare for worsening extreme weather during National Preparedness Month

Published 2:17 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023

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During National Preparedness Month in September, the American Red Cross North Carolina region urges everyone to prepare for worsening extreme weather affecting our region, including dangerous heat and humidity during this summer season. Severe weather like this is part of a worsening national trend in which the American Red Cross has responded to nearly twice as many large disasters across the country as it did a decade ago.

As rapidly intensifying, weather-related events pose serious challenges to its humanitarian work and the people it serves, the Red Cross has announced an ambitious national plan to take urgent action. With more climate-driven disasters upending lives and devastating communities, the organization is racing to adapt its services and grow its disaster response capacity across the country, while also funding new international programs on climate response and preparedness, as well as minimizing its own environmental footprint.

“As the frequency and intensity of disasters/extreme weather grow, more people need help more often,” said Rebecca Pittman, regional disaster officer, American Red Cross North Carolina. “Yet as fast as our volunteers are working to help, the needs are escalating faster. That’s why it’s critical to not only prepare yourself for risks like severe storms and extreme heat in our community, but to also help families in need — both locally and in other parts of the country. Join us by becoming a volunteer or making a financial donation to support our disaster relief efforts.”

For National Preparedness Month, take three lifesaving actions — get a kit, make a plan and be informed — to help protect yourself against local emergencies. Follow safety tips now at You can also deliver relief and care to families facing extreme weather by becoming a Red Cross volunteer at


In the first half of 2023 alone, the nation experienced an above-average 15 billion-dollar disasters. That’s all on top of the extreme heat seen in our region and communities all across the U.S. — which have made July the country’s hottest single month on record. What’s more, the U.S. is just now entering its typical peak time for hurricanes and wildfires; in the last 30 years, the number of acres burned by wildfires has more than doubled and the intensity of storms has progressively increased.


As extreme weather disasters increase, more people need help from the Red Cross in the U.S. Nationwide, the organization is taking bold and thoughtful actions to adapt its services and grow its capacity by:

  • Enhancing large-scale disaster response services by bolstering the aid provided in emergency shelters and extending casework support to help people with the most recovery needs.
  • Expanding financial assistance to help more families with unmet needs and bridge the gap between immediate disaster relief and long-term recovery assistance.
  • Strengthening local partner networks in targeted areas that face a high risk of extreme weather and existing societal inequities with a focus on increased access to health and mental health services, nutritious food and safe housing for local families.
  • Growing its disaster workforce — comprised of 90% trained volunteers — to deepen its disaster readiness. This includes fortifying the critical infrastructure and technology that enables 24/7 response to disasters across the country.


With the increasing threat of climate disasters, including the strengthening storm in the Gulf, it’s more important than ever during National Preparedness Month to prepare yourself and your loved ones for crises that could happen in your community. Visit for information on how to take three simple and lifesaving actions now — get a kit, make a plan and be informed — or download the free Red Cross Emergency app, which also provides real-time weather alerts, open Red Cross disaster shelter locations and more.


Help people affected by disasters big and small by making a gift to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters in the U.S. Visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS.


The Red Cross has seen a significant shortfall in blood and platelet donations over the last month, making it hard to keep pace with the need for blood products. Blood and platelet donations that go uncollected due to climate-related events, such as hurricanes, wildfires and extreme heat, can put further strain on the national blood supply. As extreme weather events are worsening, the Red Cross is seeing that translate into more blood drive cancellations. In 2022, over 1,300 blood drives were canceled due to weather  —  about 23% higher than the average of the prior nine years.

In thanks for helping ensure the nation’s blood supply is prepared for all emergencies, from disasters to medical emergencies, all who come to give blood, platelets or plasma Sept. 1-18 will receive a limited-edition Red Cross T-shirt, while supplies last. Those who come to give throughout September will also receive a coupon for a free haircut by email, thanks to Sport Clips Haircuts. Details are available at Donors can schedule an appointment to donate using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, by visiting or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). If you are unable to give blood you can volunteer to support blood collections.

Visit to learn more.