March 7, 2016 – As neighbors are still recovering from the Feb. 23 tornadoes, the American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when floods threaten. Flash Flood Watches already are in place in some communities.
“By preparing together for floods and other severe weather, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Kay W. Wilkins, chief executive of the Red Cross in Louisiana. “We can help you and your family create a flood preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by excessive rainfall.”
Red Cross disaster workers in Louisiana continue to help residents affected by recent tornadoes and are prepared to respond as needed to these weather developments.
As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:
- Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App to your mobile device. The Red Cross app sends location-based flood and flash flood watches and warning alerts, as well as tornado and other alerts, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The app also includes tips on how assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to leave your home. The app has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting redcross.org/apps.
- Creating and practicing a Disaster Plan: Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit. Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment’s notice. Listen to area radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress.
- Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and a seven-day supply of essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents like your insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area and other emergency items for the whole family.
- Heeding Flood Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A food WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
- Relocating During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, stop, turn around and go another way. 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 and pets out of the water, as they are curious and can be harmed by flowing or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a flood, please visit redcross.org/prepare/disaster/flood.
You can also follow the American Red Cross of Louisiana on Twitter at @LaRedCross1 or contact us at 1-800-RED CROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.
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.