St. Louis, MO (KTRS) The American Red Cross continues to provide relief across major portions of Missouri and adjoining states following region-wide flooding in recent days.
Red Cross volunteers have opened shelters to provide a place to sleep, food, and medical needs for anyone displaced by the floods. Today, shelters in Arnold, Ballwin, Pacific, Carthage, and Cape Girardeau are open in Missouri and in Granite City and Murphysboro in Illinois.
“Red Cross volunteers, who left their families Christmas weekend, are still working around the clock to provide help and hope to their neighbors in need,” said Cindy Erickson, Regional CEO, Red Cross of Eastern Missouri. “So many have lost their homes and their security in these flood waters, and they count on the Red Cross during these dark days.”
Red Cross disaster assessment teams will be checking the extent of damage once the flood waters have receded enough to allow safe passage into the affected areas. The Red Cross volunteers will also be distributing comfort kits and clean-up supplies, and meeting with those affected to help them plan their next steps in the recovery process.
The Red Cross also reminds those returning to their homes once the flood waters have receded to exercise caution.
SAFETY TIPS FOR RETURNING HOME AFTER FLOODING
· Never drive through water. If caught while driving on a road with rapidly rising water, get out of the vehicle quickly and move to higher ground. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown.
· Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
· Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage. Parts of your home may have collapsed or are damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
· Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with floodwater.
· If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department or 911.
· If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
· Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
· Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risks.
· During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
· Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out.
· Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or baby formula.
· Contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster.
· Monitor local radio and television for updated weather reports. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App. Text GETEMERGENCY to 90999; search Red Cross Emergency in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or go to redcross.org/apps.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the American Red Cross may do so online at www.redcross.org.