Experts predict there will be spring floods in some areas of the country this year, while drought conditions already ongoing will continue in other regions. The American Red Cross has steps everyone can take to stay safe whether their neighborhood faces dry conditions and wildfire risks or flooding dangers from rising rivers and streams.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its Spring Outlook report, which says flooding may occur in the northwest as well as along the basins of the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers due to significant frozen groundcover and snowmelt in the regions.
Meanwhile, the NOAA report also predicts drought conditions will continue over more than half of the country in the central and western regions with new drought development in California, the Southwest, southern Rockies, Texas and Florida.
FLOODING SAFETY STEPS Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Everyone should know the difference between a flood watch and warning. A flood or flash flood watch means either is possible in your area. A warning means flooding is already occurring or will occur soon.
People should get their household ready now and build an emergency kit, including three days of supplies for everyone in the household.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. A variety of emergency preparedness kits, first aid kits and other supplies are available at www.redcrossstore.org. Other steps people can take to stay safe should flooding threaten can be found on this web site.
WILDFIRE SAFETY The predicted drought conditions for this spring increase the risk for wildfires. In addition to building an emergency kit as outlined above, people should make sure driveway entrances and house numbers are clearly marked and identify and maintain an adequate water source outside their home such as a small pond or swimming pool.
It’s a good idea to select building materials and plants that resist fire and regularly clean roofs and gutters. Household members should also plan and practice two ways out of their neighborhood in case one is blocked and select a place for everyone to meet outside the neighborhood in case they can’t get home or an evacuation is ordered. More information on wildfire safety is available on the preparedness section of this web site.
DOWNLOAD FREE APPS Another thing people can do to help get ready is to download the free Red Cross apps for mobile devices. Apps are available to help during hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and wildfires, another which puts first aid information at someone’s fingertips and another that helps locate Red Cross shelters. The free apps are available for direct download from the Appleor Google Play for Android app stores.