American Red Cross, Milford Chapter Urges Residents to Prepare for Potential Spring Flooding

In response to a report issued by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that warns of the imminent risk of spring flooding in portions of the Northeast, the Milford Chapter is urging Connecticut residents in at-risk areas to prepare for possible floods.
Historically in the northeast, the most devastating winter and spring floods have been associated with a combination of heavy rainfall, rapid snow melt and ice jams.  Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other severe weather-related hazard because people underestimate the force and power of water.
"Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters in terms of human hardship and economic loss," said Joan Heybruck, Executive Director of the Milford Chapter. "By following the steps outlined in the Prepare Connecticut campaign, families and individuals can prepare for flooding by building a disaster supplies kit, making evacuation plans and getting trained in lifesaving CPR and first aid skills."
The Red Cross is urging families and individuals to determine the flood risk in their area by contacting the local National Weather Service office or the planning and zoning department.  The Red Cross urges residents who determine that they live in high-risk areas to take the following actions:
  • Talk to your insurance agent. Homeowners' policies do not cover flooding.  Ask about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Use an NOAA Weather Radio with a tone-alert feature or a portable, battery-powered radio or television for updated emergency information.
  • Develop an evacuation plan.  Everyone in your family should know the safest means of exit and where to go in the event of an emergency evacuation.
  • Discuss floods with your family.  Choose a destination where all family members can meet if they are not together.  Discussing flood safety ahead of time helps reduce fear and anxiety and lets everyone know how to respond.
The Red Cross also urges residents to know how to react if a flood occurs:
  • If you come upon flood waters, stop, turn around, and go another way.  Climb to higher ground.  Even six inches of water can knock you off your feet and result in injury or death.
  • Stay away from flooded areas, even if they "seem" safe.  Waters may still be rising.
  • Never try to walk, swim, drive or play in flood water.  You may not be able to see on the surface how fast flood water is moving or see holes and submerged debris.
  • If your vehicle becomes surrounded by water, exit and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. Vehicles can be swept away in two feet of water.
  • Beware of snakes in areas that are flooded.
  • Stay away from creek and stream banks in flooded or recently flooded areas.  The soaked banks often become unstable due to heavy rainfall and can suddenly give way.
  • Never play around high water, storm drains, ditches, ravines or culverts.
  • Throw away all food that has come into contact with flood water. Contaminated flood water contains bacteria and germs that can cause illness if ingested.
For more information on how to prepare for spring flooding or for a free brochure, call the Milford Chapter at (203) 874-2531.

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