Central Texas has received heavy rainfall and experienced widespread flooding over the last several weeks. More heavy rain is expected over the holiday weekend. The American Red Cross Serving Central Texas urges residents to take steps now to prepare for possible flooding in their community.
“The grounds are already saturated, so we are even more susceptible to flooding and flash flooding,” Marty McKellips, Chief Executive Officer for the American Red Cross Central & South Texas Region, said. “Red Cross volunteers are standing by and resources are strategically placed across the region to help anyone affected by flooding this weekend.”
While an old-fashioned barbecue at home may be impossible due to rain this weekend, many families may be planning to hit the road. The Red Cross offers these travel highway safety tips:
- Find out what disasters may occur where traveling and how to get information in the event of a disaster (local radio systems, emergency alert systems).
- Never drive through water-covered roads or around barracades.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast for the destination.
- Buckle up, slow down, and don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver who won’t drink.
- Be well rested and alert; have the driver give their full attention to the road.
- Use caution in work zones.
- Observe speed limits.
- Make frequent stops.
- Be respectful of other motorists.
- Clean the vehicle’s lights and windows to help see, especially at night and during bad weather.
- Turn the headlights on as dusk approaches, or during inclement weather, and don’t overdrive them.
- Carry a Disaster Supplies Kit in the trunk.
- Don’t let the gas tank get too low.
- If car trouble occurs, pull as far as possible off the highway.
- Downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App to your mobile device. The Red Cross emergency 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 assemble an emergency kit for your family in the event of a power outage or evacuation, an “I’m Safe” button to let loved 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. The app has a Spanish language toggle switch and can be downloaded by visiting org/apps.
- 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 emergency 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 flood 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 American Red Cross Serving Central Texas on Twitter at @CenTexRedCross, contact the chapter at 512.928.4271, visit www.redcross.org/austin or call 1-800-REDCROSS. We urge you to share these Red Cross preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.