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Red Cross Helps as Pineapple Express Slams West Coast

Volunteers get relief supplies in the Red Cross warehouse ready to distribute to people affected by the flooding.
Thousands have no power, facing mudslides and flooding.

The American Red Cross is helping people along the West Coast as powerful storms batter the region with heavy rain, strong winds, flooding, mudslides and high surf.

In California, the Red Cross has 10 shelters open where more than 75 people spent Thursday night. Thousands are without power and face the threat of mudslides and flash flooding. The Red Cross is working with state and local officials to monitor the situation and has more shelters on stand-by if needed. After the storm passes, disaster workers will distribute cleaning supplies throughout the affected areas.

FLOOD SAFETY People in the affected areas should know the warnings. A flash flood/ flood watch means flooding is possible in the area. A warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. Safety steps include the following:

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
  • If a warning is issued for your area, head to higher ground and stay there.
  • Avoid floodwaters. Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flooding.
  • If water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. If you are driving, turn around and go another way.
  • Keep children out of the water.
  • MUDSLIDE SAFETY Landslides generally happen where they have occurred before. Areas where forest or brush fires have burned are also susceptible to landslides. People should follow these steps to remain safe:

  • Listen for unusual sounds such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together. If you suspect danger, evacuate immediately.
  • If you are near a stream or channel, watch for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow or if the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
  • Be especially alert when driving— watch for collapsed pavement, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow.
  • If you are ordered or decide to evacuate, take your animals with you.
  • DOWNLOAD RED CROSS APPS Another thing people can do to help them stay safe is download the Red Cross Flood App, which gives them steps to follow even if cell towers and TVs are down. The app will also have shelter locations and users can let loved ones know they are okay with the “I’m Safe” feature. The Red Cross First Aid App puts advice for everyday emergencies at someone’s fingertips. Both apps are available for iPhone and Android devices.

    HOW YOU CAN HELP Help people affected by disasters like these and countless other crises 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 big and small. To donate, people can visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

    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 redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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