The American Red Cross is responding in California where recent storms have filled lakes and streams to capacity and flooding is occurring in some parts of the state.
Residents in more than 500 homes along the San Joaquin River were ordered to evacuate after a levee breach. Flooding also occurred along Coyote Creek in San Jose and residents in some neighborhoods were also ordered to evacuate. Tuesday night 188 people sought refuge in seven Red Cross and community shelters.
The Red Cross is coordinating closely with local emergency management personnel and stands ready to open additional shelters if needed.
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 households ready now and build an emergency kit, which should include three days of supplies for everyone in the household. Contents for every kit should include 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. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks worth of supplies at home.
You should also download the free Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information and open shelter locations at your fingertips. It also features emergency weather alerts to help keep the user safe, and provides information about what to do in case of various disasters. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
IF FLOODING OCCURS Listen to local radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress or other critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). People should also:
- Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice.
- When a 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.
- 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.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger
FIND A SHELTER If someone needs to find a shelter, they can visit redcross.org or contact their local Red Cross Chapter. If someone is staying with friends or family, they can visit Red Cross shelters during the day for information or a hot meal.
MAKE A DONATION The Red Cross depends on donations to prepare for and provide immediate relief from disasters. Help people affected by California floods by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word CAFLOODS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from these disasters.