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Red Cross opens shelter in Helena in response to flooding

Posted at 8:55 PM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 15:01:09-04

HELENA — Montana Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter in Helena on Thursday evening in response to flooding.

The shelter is located at the First Assembly of God Church at 2210 Dodge Ave, close to National Avenue.

The Valley Veterinary Hospital, 4880 N. Montana Ave. in Helena, will shelter pets affected by flooding.

Families who need services should call the Montana Red Cross at 800-272-6668.

Cindy Bender, DAT Leader for the Lewis and Clark County Red Cross, said “we’re going to be open 24/7. We may lock the doors, but we will be sleeping out there, so if someone comes, we will be there to let them in.”

Bender said that as long as the need in the community is there, they will stay open.

She also added that they cannot accept donations of food or other supplies at the shelter.

Red Cross shelters provide meals, a safe place to stay, information and access to other community resources.

Everyone is welcome at a Red Cross shelter, and all services are free. The Red Cross does not discriminate based on nationality, race, religious beliefs, class, disability, political opinions, sexual orientation or gender identity. No reservations are required. Service animals are welcome.

Red Cross urges everyone to be prepared should flooding occur in your area. Follow the steps below to keep your family safe.


BEFORE A FLOOD:

  • Prepare in advance
  • Assemble an emergency preparedness kit, which should include a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, nonperishable food, water, flashlight, first aid kit, emergency blanket, medications and copies of your personal documents. To see a complete list, visit here.
  • Create a household emergency plan and practice as many elements of that plan as possible. This includes identifying responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team.
    Stay informed about your community’s risk and response plans.
  • Download the free Red Cross Emergency App for iPhone or for Android.

Right before a flood:

  1. Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information.
  2. Be prepared to evacuate quickly and know your routes. Find an emergency shelter.
  3. Check your emergency kit and replenish any items in short supply such as medications.

If you have time, also do this:

  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.
  • Turn off propane tanks to reduce the potential for fire.
  • Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.
  • Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to prevent damage to your home. If you shut off your gas, a professional is required to turn it back on.
  • Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damage from power surges that might occur.
  • If you have pets or livestock
  • Consider a precautionary evacuation of your animals, especially large animals.
  • Where possible, move livestock to higher ground. If using a horse or trailer to evacuate your animals, move sooner rather than later.
  • Bring your companion animals indoors and maintain direct control of them. Be sure that your pet emergency kit is ready to go in case of evacuation.

DURING A FLOOD

Staying safe indoors:

    • Turn off the power and water mains if instructed to do so by local authorities.
    • Boil tap water until water sources have been declared safe.
    • Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals.
    • Continue listening to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
    • Don’t use gas or electrical appliances that have been flooded.
    • Dispose of any food that contacts flood water

Staying safe outdoors:

  • Don’t walk, swim or drive through floodwater. Just six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you over and two feet will float a car.
  • If caught on a flooded road with rapidly rising waters, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
    Don’t walk on riverbanks.
    Don’t allow children to play in or near flood water.
  • Avoid contact with floodwater. It may be contaminated with sewage or contain dangerous insects or animals.
  • Stay out of areas subject to flooding such as underpasses, dips, and canyons.

AFTER A FLOOD:

  • Let friends and family know you’re safe.
  • If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.

Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.For more information about how prepare for and respond to flooding visit here.