Stay Smart to Stay Safe Before, During and After Flooding
American Red Cross Offers Safety Tips
June 29, 2006|
Public Relations Director 609.951.2116; (cell) 609.206.4043|
Editor’s note: American Red Cross of Central New Jersey Health &
Safety Services Director Kathleen Pearson can provide more information
on flood safety. To schedule an interview, contact Diane Concannon at
908-256-6411 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRINCETON, NJ, June 29, 2006 – The American Red Cross continues
to provide shelter and food for families forced from their homes due to
extensive flooding around the Northeast. 91 Red Cross shelters are open
in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The Red Cross will be there to
support the immediate emergency needs of individuals and families as the
potential for flash flooding continues, and will stay the course to help
people recover from this disaster as quickly as possible. Anyone in need
of Red Cross services is urged to call their local chapter.
“The American Red Cross will always be there for people whenever and
wherever disaster strikes. But, since we are not a government agency, we
depend on the voluntary contributions and giving of the American people
to help us do our work,” stated Kevin Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer,
American Red Cross of Central New Jersey.
Affected Red Cross chapters are reaching out to their donors and
communities and asking for contributions to help provide the assistance
needed. People interested in making a financial contribution can do so
by contacting their local chapter or calling 1-800-REDCROSS.
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.
What to Do After a Flood or Flash Flood
- 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, especially poisonous snakes, 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. 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