The onslaught of storms plaguing most of the country have resulted in possible flooding and flash flooding along many rivers and streams in Central and Southern Illinois. The American Red Cross has critical safety steps everyone should follow to stay safe should flooding threaten their community.
FLOODING SAFETY STEPS 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 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 and the locations of open shelters. 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
PLEASE HELP NOW The Red Cross is helping people affected by these storms and will be helping for weeks and months to come, while at the same time responding to other emergencies, including helping people whose homes are destroyed by fires. The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year in the United States – the vast majority of which are home fires.
People can help by donating to Red Cross Disaster Relief to support disasters big and small by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.