The American Red Cross in Louisiana is preparing for a possible multi-state response as Hurricane Matthew heads toward the East Coast.

The agency has trained disaster workers, shelters, response vehicles and supplies on stand-by in Florida, Georgia, and North and South Carolina.

The Red Cross encourages Louisiana residents with family and friends in threatened areas to connect with them now. Find out what their emergency strategy is, and develop a plan to touch base with each other once the storm has passed.

"We in Louisiana know the emotional impact of disasters, and how connections can provide peace of mind when we are concerned about loved ones during disasters," said Red Cross in Louisiana Chief Executive Joshua Joachim in a news release.

Louisiana residents and their friends and family on the East Coast are encouraged to download the Red Cross Emergency App. It provides hurricane updates, assistance in developing an emergency plan, and a "Family Safe" feature that helps people stay connected during a disaster.

The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross, texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999, or going to redcross.org/apps.

The Red Cross recommends taking these steps to prepare now:

  • Build a disaster kit.
  • Come up with an emergency plan.
  • Be informed, including how local authorities will notify you during a disaster, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  • Make a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS, or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  • Become a disaster volunteer. Find out how to do that by calling the local Red Cross chapter or visiting the Red Cross website.