Red Cross opens shelter for flood victims

From press release

In response to flooding in the area, the American Red Cross is opening a shelter at Brooke Road United Methodist Church, 1404 Brooke Road in Rockford. Families seeking shelter are urged to bring bedding and necessary medications with them to the shelter. Families should be aware that pets are not allowed in the shelter.

The Red Cross will continue to monitor the water level and respond to residents as their needs are identified. Those who may be displaced by the flooding should contact the American Red Cross at (815) 963-8471.

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss. The American Red Cross urges the community to begin preparing for flood by following these tips:

→ Know the difference between WATCHES and WARNINGS.

A National Weather Service WATCH is a message indicating that conditions favor the occurrence of a certain type of hazardous weather. For example, a severe thunderstorm watch means that a severe thunderstorm is expected in the next six hours or so within an area approximately 120 to 150 miles wide and 300 to 400 miles long.

A National Weather Service WARNING indicates that a hazardous event is occurring or is imminent in about 30 minutes to an hour. Local National Weather Service forecast offices issue warnings on a county-by-county basis.

→ Be aware of flood hazards.

Floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Regardless of how a flood occurs, the rule for being safe is simple: head for higher ground and stay away from flood waters. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving flood water produces more force than most people imagine. The most dangerous thing you can do is try walking, swimming, or driving through flood waters. Two feet of water will carry away most automobiles.

Plan for a flood

Develop a disaster supplies kit.

Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, canned food, bottles water, flashlights, and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, and other emergency items for the whole family.

Learn about your area’s flood risk and elevation about flood stage.

Contact your local Red Cross chapter, emergency, management office, local National Weather Service office, or planning and zoning department about your area’s flood risk

Talk to your insurance agent.

Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Ask about the National Flood Insurance Program.

Use a NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature, or a portable, battery-powered radio for updated emergency information.

Develop a family evacuation plan.

Everyone in your family should know where to go if they have to leave. Trying to make plans at the last minute can be upsetting and create confusion.

Discuss floods with your family.

Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing floods ahead of time helps reduce fear and anxiety and lets everyone know how to respond.

From the July 28-Aug 3, 2010 issue

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