Red Cross Urges Caution as Rivers Crest in Midwest

Prepare for Floods
Listen to local media and officials to stay up-to-date on flood watches and warnings

As floodwaters threaten communities in several states throughout the Midwest, the American Red Cross urges residents to take steps to stay safe.

On Saturday night, the Red Cross had 25 shelters open in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin, providing a safe haven for more than 240 people forced from their homes. Shelters will remain open near affected areas as long as the need for assistance continues. Flooding can be a long, slow process, but the Red Cross remains committed to help.

FLOOD PREPAREDNESS It is important residents listen to local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. Evacuate if told to do so.A flood watch means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A flood warning means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. If a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

If flooding occurs, you should:

  • Listen to weather reports for the latest updates.
  • Be prepared to evacuate quickly.
  • If a flood or flash flood warning is issued, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Stay away from floodwaters and flooded roads.
  • If you come upon a flowing stream in the roadway, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet and most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. You should be especially cautious at night.

    To help you prepare, you can also download the free Red Cross First Aid app, available for Android and iPhone devices, to access flood safety tips in the “Prepare for Emergencies” section.

    IF EVACUATED If you need to evacuate and find a shelter, download the Red Cross shelter app, visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), or check your local television, radio and newspaper. Residents can prepare now by packing the supplies they would need to take if evacuated.

    What to bring to a shelter:

  • Prescription medicine
  • Identification and valuable papers
  • Toiletries
  • Change of clothing
  • Water, non-perishable food
  • Blankets, pillows and/or sleeping bags
  • Baby food and diapers
  • Floods can occur anywhere, at any time, and causes more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster. Learn more about flood preparedness, response and recovery. Then, test your knowledge by taking our short flood safety quiz.

    Tags: Flood.
    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 or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.