Flood Safety

According to FEMA, “Floods are America’s number one natural disaster and can happen anytime, anywhere.” Floods are consistently the most common, costly and deadly natural disaster Americans face each year. In fact 90% of all natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding.


Before A Flood


Educate Yourself

After getting flood insurance, there are several things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family’s safety.

1. Safeguard your possessions.
Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:

  • A copy of your insurance policies with your agent’s contact information.
  • A household inventory: For insurance purposes, be sure to keep a written and visual (i.e., videotaped or photographed) record of all major household items and valuables, even those stored in basements, attics or garages. Create files that include serial numbers and store receipts for major appliances and electronics. Have jewelry and artwork appraised. These documents are critically important when filing insurance claims. For more information visitwww.knowyourstuff.org.
  • Copies of all other critical documents, including finance records or receipts of major purchases.

2. Prepare your house.

  • First make sure your sump pump is working and then install a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
  • Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Anchor any fuel tanks.
  • Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation.
  • Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
  • Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.

3. Develop a family emergency plan.

  • Create a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and teach your children how to dial 911.
  • Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family. Know safe routes from home, work, and school that are on higher ground.
  • Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to be your emergency family contact.
  • Have a plan to protect your pets.

For more information on emergency preparation, talk to your insurance agent or visitReady.gov.


During A Flood

Here’s what you can do to stay safe during a flood:

  • If flooding occurs, go to higher ground and avoid areas subject to flooding.
  • Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams or drive through flooded roadways.
  • If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic, or roof.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
  • Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.
  • If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.

After A Flood

  • If your home has suffered damage, call your insurance agent to file a claim.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
  • Take photos of any floodwater in your home and save any damaged personal property.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts, and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe.
  • Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately.
  • Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.



Educating Kids about Fire

Have you educated your kids about fire safety? Do you know how to talk about fire safety with your kids? 



Here are a few tips:

 -Keep matches and lighters in a secured drawer or cabinet.

 -Have your children tell you when they find matches and lighters.

 -Develop a home fire escape plan. Practice it with your children and designate a meeting place outside.

 -Supervise young children closely. Do not leave them alone even for short periods of time.

 -Take the mystery out of fire by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.

 -Teach children the nature of fire. It is FAST, HOT, DARK and DEADLY!

 -Demonstrate how to stop, drop to the ground and roll if their clothes catch fire.

 -Show children how to crawl low on the floor, below the smoke, to get out of the house and stay out in the case of fire.

 -Teach children not to hide from firefighters, but to get out quickly and call for help. 

-Denea Duran

Hot Weather Hazardous To Pets

Summer’s hot and humid weather can pose a serious danger to pets. The American Red Cross has helpful steps to keep the family pets safe and healthy during the sweltering heat.

NEVER LEAVE PETS IN THE CAR. Pet owners should not leave their animal in the car, even for a few minutes, when the hot weather arrives. The inside temperature of the car can quickly reach 120 degrees. Pet owners are urged to refrain from leaving animals in the car, even with the windows cracked open.

HEAT STROKE is a common problem for pets in the warmer weather. Dogs with short noses or snouts, like the boxer or bulldog, are prone to heat stroke. This is also true for any obese pet, a pet with an extremely thick fur coat or any pet with upper respiratory problems such as laryngeal paralysis or collapsing trachea.

Pet SafetySome signs your pet may be developing heat stroke include heavy panting and being unable to calm down, even when lying down. Their gum color may be brick red, their pulse rate may be fast, or they may not be able to get up. If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, take their temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees, cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees. Bring your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.

PLANTS CAN BE HAZARDOUS. Pet owners also need to be aware that animals may try to get out a window or door, which are more likely to be open as the weather warms. And some plants in your garden can be hazardous to animals. For instance, many lilies are very poisonous to cats.  Visit the ASPCA Poison Control web site to find out which plants and flowers are poisonous to animals.

Your pet is part of the family. And just like any other family member, pets deserve to be cared for and protected. Follow these important steps to help keep your pet at their best:

  • Give your pet plenty of exercise.  Regular exercise will help your pet feel better and live longer.
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, cool water.
  • Get to know a veterinarian and make sure your pet has yearly checkups.
  • Make sure your pet is up to date on vaccines, especially rabies.
  • Get your pet spayed or neutered.
  • Keep dogs on leashes outside – another animal may be too much temptation.
  • Know how to perform CPR and provide basic first aid until veterinary care is available.

Animals can’t tell you when they aren’t feeling well. Many hide signs of illness until a problem is very advanced. Knowing what is normal for your pet and being able to recognize changes early, can make a huge difference in treatment success. The first step is to know what is normal for your pet – their gum color, heart/pulse rate, body temperature and breathing rate – so you can recognize when something is wrong.

Additional tips are located on our Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist. Pet First Aid courses are offered at many Red Cross chapters throughout the country. The Red Cross has also developed Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid, comprehensive guides with DVDs to help your keep pets healthy and safe. From basic responsibilities, like spaying/neutering and giving medications, to performing CPR and preparing for disasters, these guides offer information pet owners can trust. Contact your local chapter to see when classes are available or to purchase guide books. Products can also be purchased online at the Red Cross Store.



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-Denea Duran


First Aid

According to the National Safety Council (nsc.org), “25% of emergency room visits could be avoided if people knew basic first aid and CPR.”

It is more than likely that everyone will find him or herself in a situation that could be benefited by first aid training. If first aid is not all the treatment a person needs, it will help until professional care can be administered. NSC describes first aid as “the difference between life and death, between temporary and permanent disability, between rapid recovery and long hospitalization.”

Register for a class with the American Red Cross and be the difference: http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.d8aaecf214c576bf971e4cfe43181aa0/?vgnextoid=aea70c45f663b110VgnVCM10000089f0870aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

Sandy Hayden

4th of July Safety

The fourth of July is a festive time to celebrate our country, but don’t let your holiday be marked by carelessness. The latest CPSC estimates a total of 8,600 hospital emergency room treated injuries in 2010. Don’t let you or your loved ones become a part of the 2011 statistics by following some basic fireworks safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with fireworks. Although sparklers are seemingly safe, they burn at high temperatures that can easily ignite clothing.
  • Only allow older children to use fireworks under close adult supervision.
  • Set off fireworks outside in clear area away from buildings, dry leaves, or other flammable materials. Be sure other people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that fail to ignite or explode.
  • Do not try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them in water and throw them away.
  • Never light fireworks in a container, especially one made of glass or metal.
  • Keep unused fireworks away from firing areas.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Check instructions for special storage directions.
  • Observe local laws.
  • Never have any portion of your body over a firework while lighting.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.

Sandy Hayden