With periods of very heavy rainfall expected to produce flash flooding across the region over the next few days, we wanted to pass along some emergency preparedness information from the Asheville-Mountain Area Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The local chapter of the American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to prepare in advance of the storm. "The Red Cross is preparing for potential flooding and right now, the most important thing residents can do is to make sure they're prepared as well," Amanda Edwards, Executive Director for the American Red Cross Asheville-Mountain Area Chapter said. "Now is the time to download the Red Cross flood app, finalize your evacuation plan and listen to the advice of local authorities. If you're asked to evacuate, please do so immediately."
The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:
- Downloading the free Red Cross Flood App to your mobile device. The Red Cross flood app sends location-based flood and flash flood watches and warning alerts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The app also includes tips on how to assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, and "I'm Safe" button to let love ones know you are okay, and a real-time map to help you find the location of Red Cross shelters should you need to leave your home.
- 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. To locate the nearest Red Cross emergency shelter, check your flood app or visit redcross.org/shelter. 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 a seven-day supply of 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 like your insurance policies, cell phone chargers, family and emergency contact information, maps of the area 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. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children and pets out of the water, as they are curious and can be harmed by flowing or contaminated water.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood danger.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a flood, please visit redcross.org/prepare/ disaster/flood.
You can also follow the Western North Carolina Region on Twitter at @AVLRedCross, visit redcross.org/local/western-north-carolina or call 1-800-REDCROSS.