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How to Stay Safe as Joaquin Nears U.S.

Storm Surge
Residents along the coast and those who live inland should watch this storm.

The American Red Cross is getting ready to respond to Hurricane Joaquin if needed and urges residents who may be in the path of the storm to get ready too.

Where Joaquin will travel is still uncertain, but some experts agree the hurricane could affect people from North Carolina to lower New England. The storm is carrying winds near 75 mph and is expected to drop several inches of rain which could cause flooding. Joaquin is expected to strengthen over the next several days. Residents along the coast and those who live inland should watch this storm as its effects stretch outward as far as 125 miles from the storm’s center.

Red Cross chapters are getting ready to respond should the storm affect communities in the mid-Atlantic and northeast parts of the country. The Red Cross is putting disaster volunteers and relief supplies on stand-by and working with local officials and partners throughout the region to help ensure assistance is ready if needed.

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO Heavy rain is already falling in the same region Joaquin could affect over the weekend. There is the potential for flooding and flash flooding and residents should listen to local media outlets to stay informed about the situation in their community.

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY The all-inclusive Emergency app combines more than 35 emergency alerts to help keep the user safe, including information about what to do in case of floods, hurricanes, wildfires and more. Users can find it in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to

FLOOD SAFETY If your neighborhood is prone to flooding, you should be prepared to evacuate quickly if necessary. You can learn more about flood safety here. Some safety steps to remember include:

  • Head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Turn around, don’t drown. If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
  • HURRICANE SAFETY Important hurricane safety information is available here. What should you do?

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local media outlets for critical information about the storm.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and get some extra cash.
  • Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you don’t have shutters, close and board up all the windows with plywood.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible.
  • If you have propane, turn off the tank.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • If you are ordered to evacuate, obey the order, avoiding flooded roads and washed out bridges.
  • BUILD YOUR KIT Those who may be affected should check their disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed. Emergency preparedness kits should include enough supplies for at least three days in case someone has to evacuate. Water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents should go in every kit. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home.

    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.