Heavy rains are pummeling the South, leading to flooding across the region, including the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio river valleys. The American Red Cross urges people who may be impacted to follow these safety steps.
Right Before a Flood
Know the difference between a watch and warning. A watch means that a flood or flash flood is possible in your area, while a warning means that flooding/flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area.
Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
Be prepared to evacuate quickly if directed and know your routes and destinations. If someone needs to find a shelter they can visit redcross.org/shelter.
Check emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply. Keep it nearby.
During a Flood
Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground. Evacuate if directed. Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
Boil tap water until supplies have been declared safe.
Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage.
Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
Don’t use gas or electrical appliances that have been flooded until after they have been checked for safety.
Dispose of any food that has come into contact with flood water.
Avoid already flooded areas and areas that are subject to sudden flooding such as dips, low spots, canyons, washes etc. Stay away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.
The National Weather Service reports that nearly half of all flood fatalities are vehicle related. Do not attempt to cross flowing streams or water covered roads.
If caught in a flash flood, try to get to higher ground and stay there. Just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float a car.
Turn around and find another route if you come upon floodwater, rapidly rising water or barricades.
Don’t allow children to play in or near flood water. It may be contaminated with sewage.
After a Flood
If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so. Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
DOWNLOAD APPS People can download the Red Cross Emergency App for instant access to weather alerts for their area and where loved ones live. Expert medical guidance and a hospital locator are included in the First Aid App in case travelers encounter any mishaps. Both apps are available to download for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
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 cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.