The American Red Cross is Prepared for Western Nebraska Flooding

Red Cross volunteer assesses flood damage

NORTH PLATTE, NEB., Wednesday, September 18, 2013 –As the water from Colorado flows into Nebraska, more than a dozen American Red Cross disaster action workers from North Platte, Kearney, Grand Island, Lincoln and Omaha continue to prepare for potential flooding in communities along the South Platte River.

On Wednesday afternoon, Red Cross workers delivered food and water to people who were filling sandbags in Hershey and delivered water to Big Springs. Communities in the path of the rising river are mobilizing with the Red Cross, Red Cross workers have met with Southern Baptist and UMCORS (United Methodist Cors) and are working closely with the Salvation Army Partners. In addition, the Red Cross is positioned to open shelters in nine communities along the South Platte River should homeowners be forced out of their homes. There displaced residents will have a safe place to stay, a place to sleep, a hot meal, minor first aid, referrals and a shoulder to lean on.

“We are encouraging people who live along the South Platte River to think about where they are going to go if the flood waters threaten their home and safety,” said Susan Epps, Disaster Program Director. “Should people need to go to a shelter, we want them to think about the necessary items that they may need and want in the days to come.”

The Red Cross has opened a shelter in Big Springs at Big Springs School.

Shelter App:

People can locate a shelter by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm or downloading the Red Cross Shelter App. If you have an iPhone you can download the app, it uses data about open shelters from the American Red Cross National Shelter System (NSS). The NSS contains information about 60,000 potential disaster facilities and is used to track and report on shelter information during disasters. The NSS enables emergency managers and disaster relief workers to identify relevant information for all shelters in use and to develop effective response strategies before disasters strike.

Anyone evacuating to a Red Cross shelter should bring essential items for each member of the family:

  • Prescriptions and emergency medications
  • Foods that meet unusual dietary requirements
  • dentification to show residence is in affected area and important personal documents
  • Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items
  • Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys
  • Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled
  • As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life or death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:
  • 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 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 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.
  • Safe and Well:

    The American Red Cross encourages all those affected by a disaster to register on the Safe and Well website. This easy-to-use tool, available at www.redcross.org/safeandwell, allows concerned loved ones all across the country to search for registrants’ posted messages, to see that they are safe.

    Concerned family members and friends who want to check on the status of a loved one can choose the “Search” option on the Safe and Well site. They enter the person’s name and pre-disaster phone number or address. If their loved one has registered, they will be able to see their message. Note that the Safe and Well website safeguards the registrant’s privacy. Standard messages are enough to provide peace of mind, but the site does not reveal a registrant’s specific location or contact information.

    The Safe and Well website is also available in Spanish at www.sanoysalvo.org. People without access to a computer, without electricity, or in need of help from an interpreter can call the Red Cross at

    1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767) to register. Family members outside the disaster-impacted area can register an evacuee as soon as they hear from them, to reassure other concerned loved ones.

    How to Help:

    People across the flooded areas need help now. The Red Cross has launched a massive relief effort to help people who have been devastated by flood water and need the continued support of the public. People can make a donation to support Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to someone’s local Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

    Volunteering:

    *Community members who want to volunteer with the American Red Cross can register by visiting Redcross.org/neia.

    Residents who need immediate assistance should call the Central Plains Chapter

    toll free number: 1-888-382-3790.

    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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.