How you can check in on loved ones on the East Coast - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

How you can check in on loved ones on the East Coast

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Local volunteers with the American Red Cross as well as utility crews from Missouri, Iowa and Illinois are already heading to the East Coast for possible assistance as Hurricane Sandy moves inland.

But, for the rest of us here at home, we are left to our own devices as we watch the damage and devastation Northeast.

During a disaster like Hurricane Sandy, it can be hard to contact and stay in touch with loved ones and family members.

During the past several years the Red Cross has be using what's called the "Safe and Well Program" to be used for large scale disasters.

The program gives those directly impacted a way to check in and get the message out that they are safe.

If you do know someone on the East Coast, make sure they are registered at www.redcross.org.

You can then search them by name and phone number or address.

"It lets folks throughout the entire rest of the country, particularly their family and friends know that they are OK, that maybe they're in a particular shelter and that emotional support for their loved ones. Especially as cell phones go down and landlines go down just to let them know that they are safe and well," said Pam Shaffer, the regional executive director for the American Red Cross.

Pam Shaffer also says that computers and internet access will be provided at various red cross shelters along the east coast, so folks will be able to sign up for this program in those shelters.

Also, if you're trying to reach a loved one by cell phone, carriers are asking that you text instead of call, so it doesn't bog down the network.

You can help in the recovery efforts. To donate, visit www.redcross.org , call 1-800-REDCROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to the local Red Cross chapter.

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