American Red Cross Opens Shelters in Central New Jersey
Offers Tips to Stay Safe During and After Flooding
April 16, 2007|
Public Relations Director 609.951.2116; (cell) 609.206.4043|
PRINCETON, NJ, April 16, 2007 – The American Red Cross is
providing shelter and food for families forced from their homes due to
extensive flooding in New Jersey. The Red Cross will be there to support
the immediate emergency needs of individuals and families as flooding
continues, and will stay the course to help people recover from this
disaster as quickly as possible.
The American Red Cross of Central New Jersey, the chapter serving
Mercer, Hunterdon and Middlesex counties, has opened the following
shelters to accommodate those who were evacuated from their homes in
- Mill Lake Elementary School – 115 Monmouth Road, Monroe,
(CLOSED 4-16 -- clients either relocated or able to return to their
- Avenel Middle School – 85 Woodbine Avenue, Avenel, NJ
(CLOSED 4-16 -- Clients either relocated or able to return to
The Red Cross will continue to provide vital disaster response
assistance for those who need it. Anyone in need of Red Cross services
is urged to call their local chapter. In Hunterdon, Mercer and Middlesex
As the potential for flooding continues throughout the state, the Red
Cross points out important steps that can help keep you safe during and
- Identify where you could go if told to evacuate. Choose several
places – a friend’s home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
- Keep copies of insurance policies and other important documents
in a safe place less likely to be damaged during a flood, such as a
waterproof box, a safe-deposit box, or with a friend or relative
across town. You may need quick easy access to these documents.
- Fill your car’s gas tank, in case an evacuation notice is
- Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit containing:
-- First aid kit and essential medications
-- Canned food and can opener
-- At least three gallons of water per person
-- Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags
-- Battery-powered radio, flashlight, and extra batteries
-- Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members
-- Written instructions for how to turn off electricity, gas, and
water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you’ll need a
professional to turn natural gas service back on.)
Know when to act:
- When a FLOOD WATCH is issued – Move your furniture and
valuables to higher floors of your home.
- When a FLOOD WARNING is issued – Listen to local radio
and TV stations for information and advice. If told to evacuate, do
so as soon as possible.
- When a FLASH FLOOD WATCH is issued – Be alert to signs of
flash flooding and be ready to evacuate on a moment’s notice.
- When a FLASH FLOOD WARNING is issued:
-- Or if you think it has already started, evacuate immediately. You
may have only seconds to escape. Act quickly!
-- Move to higher ground away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm
drains. Do not drive around barricades, they are there for your
-- If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, abandon it
immediately and climb to higher ground.
Know what to do after a flood or flash flood:
The greatest potential for accident or injury may occur after the rain
has stopped. Learning the smart approaches to flood safety can help you
to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible. This includes
seeking necessary medical care at the nearest hospital or clinic if
needed. Contaminated flood waters may lead to a greater possibility of
infection, while severe injuries will require medical attention. It is
vital to continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local radio or
television stations and return home only when authorities indicate it is
safe to do so. Flood dangers do not end when the water begins to
recede; there may be flood-related hazards within the community, which
are important to know.
- Stay out of any building if flood waters remain around the
building. Flood waters often undermine foundations, causing
sinking, floors can crack or break and buildings can collapse.
- Avoid entering ANY building (home, business, or other) before
local officials have said it is safe to do so. Buildings may
have hidden damage that makes them unsafe. Gas leaks or electric or
waterline damage can create additional problems.
- Report broken utility lines to the appropriate authorities.
Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as
quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury. Check
with your utility company now about where broken lines should be
- Avoid smoking inside buildings. Smoking in confined areas
can cause fires.
- When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Building
damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Watch carefully
every step you take.
- Wear sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a
disaster is cut feet.
- Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining
buildings. Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest,
preventing fire hazard for the user, occupants, and building.
- Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases, and windows to make
sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.
- Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage. Cracks
and damage to a foundation can render a building uninhabitable.
- Look for fire hazards. There may be broken or leaking gas
lines, flooded electrical circuits, or submerged furnaces or
electrical appliances. Flammable or explosive materials may travel
from upstream. Fire is the most frequent hazard following floods.
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing
or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn
off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas
company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any
reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
- Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or
broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off
the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have
to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an
electrician first for advice. Electrical equipment should be checked
and dried before being returned to service.
- Check for sewage and waterline damage. If you suspect
sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a
plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and
avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water from
undamaged water heaters or by melting ice cubes.
- Watch out for animals that may have come into buildings with
the flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris. Flood
waters flush snakes and many animals out of their homes.
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 flooding in New Jersey, 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
707 Alexander Road, Suite 101, Princeton, NJ 08540-6311 . 609-951-8550 .
Hunterdon Branch: 349 Route 31 South, Suite 501, Flemington, NJ 08822 .
908-782-4121 . Fax: 908-782-2864