American Red Cross urges southeast Minnesota to prepare for spring floods

Published 2:54 pm Saturday, February 27, 2010

Southeast Minnesota is prone to seasonal flooding, and this spring forecasters predict that much of Minnesota will see minor to moderate flooding. The Freeborn County Chapter of the American Red Cross urges residents to take steps now to stay safer when floods threaten.

“By preparing together for floods, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said Jeanie Opdahl, director of the Freeborn County Chapter. “We can help you and your family create a flood preparedness plan now, before the waters start to rise.”

“We don’t expect flooding on the same scale as 2007, but some communities will be affected as the snow begins to melt,” said Opdahl. The American Red Cross is already preparing its response to such a disaster. “While we hope the predictions will be wrong, we are already organizing our volunteers and pre-positioning our equipment in areas most prone to flooding,” Opdahl said.

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As with any disaster, the American Red Cross urges preparedness which is so often the difference between life and death. The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families prepare for floods by:

 Creating and practicing a disaster plan: Talk to everyone in your household about what to do if a flood occurs. Decide where you would meet and who you would contact in case of flooding. Assemble and maintain an emergency preparedness kit. Be prepared to evacuate your family and pets at a moment’s notice. Listen to area radio and television stations for possible flood warnings and reports of flooding in progress.

 Assembling an emergency preparedness kit: Kits should contain a first aid kit and essential medications, foods that don’t require cooking or refrigeration, a manual can opener, bottled water, flashlights, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, copies of important documents and other emergency items for the whole family.

 Heeding flood warnings: Listen to your local radio and TV stations for updated flood information. A flood watch means flooding or flash flooding is possible in your area.

A flood warning means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. When a flood or flash flood warning is issued for your area, head for higher ground and stay there.

 Relocating during flood warnings: Stay away from flood waters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.

If you come upon a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.

Whether it’s local flooding, a hurricane on the Gulf Coast or an earthquake affecting millions of people outside our borders, the American Red Cross is there to provide relief, comfort and hope to victims of disasters. Down the street, across the country and around the world the American Red Cross helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies and we ask you to help us prepare for this one. For more information about flood preparedness, or to make an online contribution to the local disaster relief fund, visit