Tips to stay safe as flood season approaches

SPRINGFIELD — In light of the heavy rain forecast and melting snow, The American Red Cross Pioneer Valley Chapter urges residents to take steps now to stay safer as floods threaten.

The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:
  • Creating and practicing a disaster plan by talking to all those in the household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where to meet and who to contact in case of flooding.

  • Assembling an emergency preparedness kit. Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don't require cooking or refrigeration and a manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights and a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of impor-tant documents and other emergency items for the whole family.

  • Clearing clogged storm drains to prevent flooding.

  • Having adequate protection for the home as standard home-owners insurance doesn't cover flooding, it's important to have protection from floods associated with heavy rains and other conditions that impact the region. For more information on flood insurance, visit the National Flood Insurance Program Web site at www.FloodSmart.gov.

  • Heeding flood warnings. Listen to local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. A flood watch means flooding or flash flooding is possible in the area. A food warning means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in the area. Those in a flood or flash flood warning area, should head for higher ground and stay there.

  • Staying away from flood waters. Those who come upon a flowing stream where water is above the ankle, should stop, turn around and go another way. Those who come upon a flooded road while driving, should turn around and go another way. Those who are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly should get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
For more information on flood preparedness, contact the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross at 737-4306, visit www.redcross.org or www.cruzrojaamericana.org.

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