The American Red Cross Urges Iowans to Prepare Now for Floods

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DES MOINES, IA —The American Red Cross serving Greater Iowa urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when floods threaten. The National Weather Service in Des Moines is warning of the potential for more severe weather on Monday including; tornados, strong thunderstorm winds, and large hail. There will also be the potential for locally heavy rainfall

The Red Cross is already providing assistance to four families (13 individuals) affected by flash flooding Sunday night into Monday morning in Cedar Rapids and Marion. Based on the families’ needs, Red Cross disaster workers will provide comfort to the families as well as emergency needs like, shelter, food and clothing. Volunteers in Cedar Rapids also responded to a single family home fire overnight. We do not know if the cause was weather related.

Right now, volunteers are on standby and ready to open shelters and/or provide more assistance across the Iowa region, if needed. Red Cross disaster workers are in contact with emergency managers across Iowa to see where we can help.

If you or someone you know needs Red Cross assistance, please call your local chapter:

  • Grant Wood Area Chapter: (319)393-3500,
  • Hawkeye Chapter: (319)234-6831,
  • Central Iowa: (515)243-7681
  • Siouxland (NW Iowa): (712)252-4081

People can also reach out to the Red Cross serving Greater Iowa via social media. On Facebook, search American Red Cross Iowa and on Twitter, @GreaterIA_ARC.

“By preparing together for floods, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” Brandon Holstrom, Regional Disaster Functions Support Manager said. “We can help you and your family create a flood preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by more excessive rainfall.”

As with any disaster, preparation can be the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:

  • Creating and practicing a Disaster Plan: Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit. Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment’s notice. Listen to area radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress.
  • Assembling an Emergency Preparedness Kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration and manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents and other emergency items for the whole family.
  • Heeding Flood Warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information.  A flood WATCH means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area. A food WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.
  • Relocating During Flood Warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankle, 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.
  • Download the FREE Red Cross Flood App: This free app gives iPhone, iPad and Android smart phone users instant access to local and real-time information, so they know what to do before, during and after a flood. The content is available in English and Spanish based on the user’s language settings on their mobile device. The app includes location-based, audible NOAA flood and flash flood watches and warnings – even if the app is closed.

 

For more information on flood preparedness, contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross, visit www.redcross.org or call 1-800 RED CROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.

The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters each year and helps people get ready to respond to emergencies by providing these preparedness apps for free. The Red Cross needs the help of the public to continue this lifesaving effort. People can make a donation to the Red Cross by going to redcross.org, texting REDCROSS to 90999 or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

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