March 15-19 is Flood Safety Awareness Week to help educate people about the hazards associated with flooding and about what to do when flooding occurs. 

Floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States. Flood effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or floods can be very large, affecting entire river basins and multiple states, like the flooding we experienced in the summer of 2008.

However, all floods are not alike. Some floods develop slowly, some over a period of days. Flash floods can develop quickly, sometimes in just a few minutes and without any visible signs of rain. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, producing effects similar to flash floods.

The American Red Cross recommends the following three actions you to be prepared for a flood: Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed. 

Get a Kit

Have at least three days worth of supplies in a sturdy, but easy-to-carry evacuation kit, with additional supplies on hand. Store the kit in a place that is easily accessible. It is also a good idea to keep a smaller version of the kit in your vehicle, in case you find yourself stranded or not able to return home because of flood waters. Remember to check your kit and replace the stock every six months. Kits should contain:

  • Water
  • Non-perishable, food items (don’t forget a can opener)
  • Flashlight w/ extra batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medications
  • Radio w/extra batteries
  • Tools
  • Clothing, include sturdy shoes and gloves
  • Personal items
    • Important documents
    • Eyeglasses/contact lenses with formula
    • Comfort items like toys or books
  • Toiletry items
  • Money-Cash
  • Pet supplies
  • Map

Make a Plan

Creating a family disaster plan allows people to feel prepared when flooding occurs. Discuss with your family about what you would do in a flood, and establish responsibilities for each member of the household. Include your pets in your evacuation plan. If it isn’t safe for you, it isn’t safe for them.  Plan to work together as a team.

Once you have a plan in place, practice it. Make sure each adult in your household knows how and when to turn off utilities such as, water, electricity, and gas.  Also, make sure everyone knows where emergency supplies and information are kept. 

Be Informed

Being informed helps you be better prepared. First, check to see if your insurance covers flooding. If not, find out how to get flood insurance. Second, keep your insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box, so they are safe from flood waters. Then, identify where you could go if told to evacuate – a friend’s home out of town, a motel or possibly a shelter.  Remember that floods can be small or large, so it is good to have a few different locations planned out depending on the size of the flood.   

Be aware of flood hazards no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water or downstream from a dam. Even very small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, or low-lying ground that appears harmless in dry weather can flood. Every state is at risk for flooding.

Flood Watch:
Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Flash Flood Watch:
Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; listen to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.

Flood Warning:
Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning:
A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground

When the possibility of a flood threatens, make sure you stay up to date with weather developments through your local TV or radio stations.  It is also important to know the difference between a flood and a flash flood, and the difference between a watch and a warning. 

Share What You Know

Once you and your family are prepared, share what you have learned with family, friends and neighbors.  Encourage them to: Get a Kit. Make a Plan. Be Informed.

When a flood occurs, your community can change in an instant. You can count on the Red Cross to be there to help you and your family.  The Red Cross is not a government agency and depends on contributions of your time, money and blood.

The Northeast Wisconsin American Red Cross is a regional grouping of six chapters serving 19 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters throughout the East Central Wisconsin, Fond du Lac County, Lakeland, Manitowoc/Calumet, Neenah-Menasha and Outagamie Chapters. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Northeast region at 920-231-3590 or visit

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The American Red Cross is a charity, not a government agency, and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission.

Flash Flood Warning:
A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground

One Response

  1. wearing contact lenses is sometimes hard and you always need to clean it for hygiene ;-:

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