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The American Red Cross Urges Safety in States Affected by Flooding

As some residents in Central U.S. recover, others are preparing for

potential flooding

WASHINGTON, June 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross forges on with relief efforts as hundreds of thousands of residents in states across the Midwest continue to feel the effects of recent flooding, as some are allowed to return to damaged homes and many others remain in shelters. Along the Mississippi River, residents in Missouri and Illinois brace themselves as the river surpasses record flood levels and continues to break or compromise levees.

More than 4,000 Red Cross disaster workers are aiding relief efforts in eight states from Kansas to West Virginia. In preparation for potential flood conditions along the Missouri-Illinois border, 19 shelters are operating and thousands of meals and snacks have been provided.

In areas where flooding is likely to occur soon, it is crucial for residents to take action to get better prepared and be "Red Cross Ready": Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed.

Get a Kit: Gather supplies including 3 days worth of food and water, a first aid kit, battery-operated radio, batteries, flashlight, medicine, cash and other important items into a sealable, easy to carry container. For a full list of suggested items, visit

Make a Plan: Choose an out-of-the-area emergency contact to check in with. Tell your family about the Safe and Well website on where you can register your well being. Plan ahead to find a hotel or motel where your pets could stay in a disaster situation.

Be Informed: Find out how local authorities will contact you in an emergency. If a flood WATCH is issued, listen to local weather reports on your batter-operated radio. Follow the advice of local authorities and if you are asked to evacuate, do so immediately.

The Red Cross also urges all who have been affected by floods to use caution. Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Even a shallow depth of fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. If you are in a car and your vehicle stalls, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground. When returning home:

Listen: Follow the advice of local authorities

Be safe: Avoid downed power lines and smell for gas when entering your home or office. Wear protective clothing like rubber gloves and boots when cleaning your home.

"When in doubt, throw it out": Dispose of food, beverages and medicine exposed to floodwaters and mud, including canned goods, capped bottles and sealed containers. Water may not be safe to drink, clean with, or bathe in after an emergency such as a flood. Use only bottled, boiled, or treated water until your water supply is tested and found safe.

Get rid of mold: Mold can cause asthma attacks or irritate your eyes, nose and skin. Remove all items that have been wet for more than 48 hours. To clean hard surfaces, use commercial cleaning products or a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water.

For more information on how you can prepare for a flood or other disaster, contact your local Red Cross chapter or visit, where you can also find details on the ongoing relief efforts in the Central United States.

All American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. You can help the victims of thousands of disasters across the country each year, disasters like the tornadoes and floods in the Central United States, by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to victims of disaster. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster please do so at the time of your donation. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross, P. O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013. Internet users can make a secure online contribution by visiting

SOURCE American Red Cross
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