With the potential for major or moderate flooding across the Dakotas Region this spring, people are at risk and the American Red Cross is issuing flood safety steps people should follow.
The Red Cross is in close communication with emergency managers, city and county officials, and community partners to assist in areas experiencing flooding. Disaster workers are providing safe shelter, blankets, care kits and other comfort materials for people who are displaced from their homes. The Red Cross is distributing clean-up kits in neighborhoods affected by flooding and serving food, snacks and beverages in several communities across the tri-state area. We urge people who may be impacted to follow these safety steps.
Get Ready for Flooding
- Pack your emergency kit. Include a gallon of water per person, per day – 3 days for evacuation, 2-week supply for home. Also pack a 3-day supply of non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery or hand crank radio, extra batteries, first aid kit, medications, sanitation and personal hygiene items, cell phone with charger, family and emergency contact information, extra cash, a map of the area and items for babies, anyone with special needs and your pets.
- Make sure everyone in your household knows what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued.
- You can find active flood alerts, forecast maps, river levels and lake levels here.
- Get access to NOAA radio broadcasts.
- Keep insurance policies, valuables and other important documents in a safe deposit box or a safe place not likely to be damaged in a flood. Take pictures and keep copies of important documents and files on a flash drive that you can carry with you.
- Don’t forget your pets. Prepare a pet emergency kit for your companion animals.
Right Before a Flood
- Know the difference between a watch and a 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 and low spots. 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
FIND A SHELTER If someone needs to find a shelter, they can visit redcross.org/shelter, download the free Red Cross Emergency App or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767). The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps. Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, other comfort items and important documents. Don’t forget to bring any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.
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.