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Southwestern PA Red Cross Offering Important Flood Safety Tips
PITTSBURGH – Strong thunderstorms earlier this morning have caused flash flooding across Western Pennsylvania. The American Red Cross is prepared to assist affected individuals with their emergency needs and is urging local residents to keep flood safety tips in mind if they encounter flooded areas.
The local Red Cross currently has two teams on the ground in Bridgeville, where they are working with Allegheny County to assess damage to homes in the area. Another team provided clean-up kits in West Elizabeth. The organization is monitoring the situation and is prepared to provide affected dwellings with additional support and assistance with immediate, disaster-caused needs.
“The Red Cross is always ready to mobilize quickly in the case of an emergency situation,” said Victor Roosen, Emergency Services Director with the local Red Cross. “Right now, we are encouraging area residents to practice caution if they live in areas which have been affected by flooding.”
The Red Cross offers these flood safety tips:
How to Prepare for a Flood:
Families will be better prepared to withstand a flood if they have a stocked emergency preparedness kit packed and ready to go in case they need to evacuate their home.
Water—at least a 3-day supply; one gallon per person per day
Food—at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible) and extra batteries
First Aid kit
Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
Sanitation and personal hygiene items
Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
Cell phone with chargers
Family and emergency contact information
A full list of supplies to include in a kit can be found at RedCross.org.
Responding Appropriately During a Flood:
Listen to area radio and television stations and a NOAA Weather Radio for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS)
Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
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 out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
Because standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding, it’s important to have protection from the floods associated with hurricanes, tropical storms, heavy rains and other conditions that impact the U.S. For more flood safety tips and information on flood insurance, please visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.
Flood Recovery Tips:
Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out!
Contact your local or state public health department to see if your water supply might be contaminated. You may need to boil or treat it before use. Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.