The American Red Cross asks everyone to take three steps to Be Red Cross Ready - get a kit, make a plan and be informed. For those people seeking to evacuate the Mexican coast, this means paying attention to the instructions of the local authorities, monitoring the storm and securing transportation to a safe destination. As a concerned family member, you can also help.

As people evacuate from resort areas, the Red Cross encourages families back home to list the status of their loved ones on the Safe and Well site. By listing your loved one on the Safe and Well Web site, you can actually participate in the disaster relief effort and help to reassure other friends and family that your traveler is safe.

The Red Cross Safe and Well site is a tool that allows families to stay in touch immediately following a disaster. People who must evacuate the area can go online to redcross, list themselves and their family on the Safe and Well site and select a pre-scripted message that indicates their plans. Examples of messages include: "I am safe and well...," "Currently at shelter." and "Will make phone calls when able." Loved ones who read these messages will gain peace of mind knowing that their families are out of harm's way. Family members can also register their loved ones on the site.

The Red Cross encourages everyone to take advantage of this important service. Call your family members as they await evacuation, and offer to list them on Safe and Well. Immediately following a disaster, just the short message left on this site can be enough to give your friends and family peace of mind.

To register a family member on Safe and Well, visit redcross, or call 1-800-REDCROSS for assistance from a Red Cross agent.

For more information on general disaster preparedness, please visit redcross/BeRedCrossReady.

You can help those affected by countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. Call 1-800-RED CROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting redcross. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation.

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