CHARLESTON - West Virginia is prone to flash flooding, and the West Virginia Region of the American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when floods threaten.
"By preparing together for floods, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger," said Erica Mani, West Virginia Region chief executive officer. "We can help you and your family create a flood preparedness plan now, before our community is threatened by 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 television 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.
For information on flood preparedness, contact the West Virginia Region of the American Red Cross at (304) 340-3650, visit www.redcrosswv.org or call (800) RED-CROSS.
Share these Red Cross flood preparedness tips with every member of your household, because the best protection is to be prepared ahead of time.