The National Weather Service predicts this season’s El Niño could be “among the top three strongest episodes” on record, bringing below average temperatures and significantly higher than average rainfall to northern California during the winter months.
In anticipation of possible disastrous repercussions from El Niño, the Red Cross Gold Country Region is continuously taking steps to prepare. “We are particularly watchful of former wildfire burn areas and zones that historically experience flooding,” said Robin Friedman, Regional Disaster Program Officer with Red Cross Gold Country Region.
“Flooding in areas such as the foothills of Calaveras and Amador Counties and the mountains of Trinity County are big concerns for us as we anticipate the effects of El Niño,” said Friedman.
In cooperation with local government agencies and non-government organizations, the Red Cross is the leading entity that provides mass care to those affected by disaster. In preparation, historic regional flood zones have been identified and mapped, and resources can be quickly relocated closer to where they might be needed most.
The Red Cross Gold Country Region has a Regional Disaster Response Plan, and in preparation of opening disaster shelters, it has participated in trainings with local cities. It also has upgraded radios across multiple territories, constantly inspects shelter supplies, and continues to identify potential shelter locations to ensure that it is able to shelter, feed, and provide a safe, comfortable place for those in need.
The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families take steps now to prepare for possible flooding and landslides. Being prepared means making an emergency kit that includes enough food and water for three days, along with other critical items like a flashlight and batteries, emergency blanket, first aid supplies, and copies of essential documents. Having and practicing an evacuation route is also necessary in the event that an evacuation is necessary.
“We are now including information about flood preparedness in our community training,” said Bob Thornton, Manager, Preparedness and Resiliency. Included in this training are tips such as not driving through flooded areas, no matter how small, because it can be difficult to tell how deep the water may be.
The Red Cross recommends preparing for El Niño by making a disaster kit and downloading its free apps:
Preparedness Kit: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/get-kit
Emergency App: http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/emergency-app
First Aid App: http://www.redcross.org/mobile-apps/first-aid-app
You can also find Red Cross and other preparedness information at the following websites:
Highway Safety: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/highway-safety