The American Red Cross is helping residents in Louisiana and Texas after flooding forced thousands of people from their homes.
More than 350 people spent Wednesday night in Red Cross and community shelters in Louisiana and Texas after fleeing the rising waters. Red Cross workers are also providing meals and distributing relief supplies.
Louisiana was hit hard with rains that flooded homes up to the rooftops, submerged vehicles and forced as many as 3,500 people from their homes. The National Guard is assisting with water rescues and a state of emergency has been declared for 16 regions in the state. The Red Cross also opened shelters in Texas where high water also forced residents to evacuate.
FOLLOW THESE LIFESAVING SAFETY STEPS
The threat of more rain and flash flooding will continue in the region for the next several days. The Red Cross has steps people should follow to remain safe:
FLOODING Heavy rains could fill rivers and streams, bringing flooding to the area. If your neighborhood is threatened with the possibility of flooding, here are some things you should do:
1. 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.
2. Stay away from floodwaters.
3. 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.
4. Keep children out of the water.
5. Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
THUNDERSTORM SAFETY STEPS Thunderstorms injure an average of 300 people every year, and cause about 80 fatalities. Here are the top thunderstorm safety steps you should follow:
1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to the storm to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
2. As the storm approaches, take shelter in a building.
3. If you are driving, pull off the roadway and park. Stay in the car with the windows closed and turn on the emergency flashers. Avoid touching metal or other surfaces that conduct electricity in and outside of the vehicle.
4. If you are inside, unplug appliances and avoid using the telephone or any electrical appliances. Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose.
5. If you are caught outside and cannot reach a safe building, avoid high ground, water, tall, isolated trees and metal objects such as fences or bleachers. Picnic shelters, dugouts and sheds are not safe.
DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY With the threat of more severe weather, people should download the free Red Cross Emergency App to receive emergency alerts and information about what to do in case of flooding and other disasters, as well as locations of shelters. The App also includes emergency first aid information and a Family Safe feature which allows people to instantly see if loved ones are okay. The free Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.
HOW TO HELP Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.