Red Cross officials urge residents to be flood ready

Published 7:11 am Friday, February 26, 2010

The Mower County Chapter of the Red Cross is urging residents to prepare for flood season.

Spring forecasters predict that much of Southeast Minnesota will see minor to moderate flooding this year — though not as bad as during the 2007 season. Nonetheless, the Red Cross is organizing their volunteers and equipment as well as urging residents to prepare for floods.

“We just met in Rochester to finalize our office’s flood plans,” said Brigitte Campbell, executive assistant at the Mower County Chapter of the American Red Cross. “We are making sure we have our volunteers up to date and that we are prepared.”

The Red Cross offers the following tips for residents to gear up for spring:

Create and practice a disaster plan by talking to your family about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where to meet and who to contact in case of flooding.

Assemble an emergency preparedness kit, including a first aid kit, essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, a manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries and copies of important documents.

Heed flood warnings by listening to local radio and TV stations. A flood “watch” means flooding or flash flooding is possible. A flood “warning” means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. Head to higher ground and stay there during a flood warning.

Relocate during flood warnings. Stay away from flood waters. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly, get out of the car and move to higher ground.

Residents are welcome to contact the Red Cross for additional help getting prepared, Campbell said.

Call 437-4589 or visit the chapter office at 305 Fourth Ave. NW for further information.