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Red Cross lending a hand in Utah, Texas


The American Red Cross continues to offer shelter, food and emotional support to residents of southern Texas and Herriman, Utah where flooding and wildfires are disrupting the lives of people living in these areas.

In Texas, flooding remains a problem. Some areas of the southern end of the state have received more than 14 inches of rain this month and flood and flash flood watches and warnings remain in effect. Streets and roads are flooded and water inundated a wastewater treatment plant, causing thousands of gallons of sewer water to flow into a nearby creek. Almost 80 people sought refuge from the rising water in Red Cross shelters overnight. The Red Cross’ Coastal Bend-Texas Chapter has teams in the area providing assistance as needed.

Jose Ocejo and his family live in Corpus Christ and have lost everything they own in the flooding. They came to the Red Cross for help, and were given a safe place to stay and warm meals. “The Red Cross gave us food and a place to sleep and that helps a lot,” he said.

In Utah, the Herriman wildfire is only 25 percent contained and has destroyed as many as 4,300 acres. Reports show 450 homes are in jeopardy and mandatory evacuations are in effect for hundreds of residents. The Red Cross in Utah is offering evacuees information and updates on the evacuations, a safe place to stay, meals, and emotional support.

Jen Lassiter, her husband and their three young children fled their home Sunday when the wildfire threatened. They came to the Red Cross shelter for some food and a place to stay. "It's amazing," Jen said. "It's comfortable, relaxing and kid-friendly."

If you have been affected by the fire in Utah or flooding in Texas, you can register on the Red Cross Safe and Well website, an easy way to notify loved ones of your well-being. You can sign up on the web site or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). Friends and family can then search for your message by using your phone number or complete address.

If your neighborhood is threatened by flooding, you should stay away from the water. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet. Other steps you should take to remain safe include:

  • 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. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger
  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.

If the wildfire is threatening your community, you should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. The Red Cross has some things you can do to be prepared should you have to evacuate:

  • Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Limit exposure to smoke and dust.

For more information on what to do in case of a wildfire or flood, visit www.redcross.org. To make a financial donation to the Red Cross to help people affected by these disasters here in the United States and around the world, people can click, call or text - visit www.redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.