In response to Tropical Storm Hilary, the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross is collaborating with Emergency Management in LA Paz, Pima, and Yuma Counties. Volunteers are on standby in case emergency shelters are needed.

Courtney Slanaker, Executive Director of Southern AZ, said, “Thanks to our incredible cadre of volunteers and staff, we are prepared to shelter people potentially displaced by the storm.” Slanaker emphasized the extreme dangers and unpredictability of flash flooding, especially on the roadways and dry riverbeds that cross over a street. Even a small amount of water can knock you off your feet. Only 6 inches of water can cause you to fall, and just 12 inches of rushing water can carry most cars away.

Follow these three steps to prepare

  1. Create an evacuation plan: Plan what to do if you are separated from your family during an emergency and establish an evacuation plan. Ensure that your emergency plan includes provisions for your pets.
  2. Build an emergency kit: Assemble an emergency kit with essential items such as a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, a first aid kit, medications, supplies for infants or pets, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
  3. Stay informed: Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you can receive important information, such as evacuation orders. Stay tuned to your local radio, NOAA radio, or news channel for the latest updates.

Residents can download the free Red Cross Emergency App to prepare for the unexpected. The app provides real-time weather alerts, information on open Red Cross shelters, and expert advice on floods. It is compatible with smartphones, Apple Watch, and Android wearable devices. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores or visit redcross.org/apps.

Flooding Safety Tips:

It is crucial to heed the advice of local authorities and evacuate immediately if instructed to do so. Safety should be the top priority. Differentiate between a watch and a warning, where a watch indicates likely conditions and staying alert is advised, while a warning requires immediate action.

Here are some additional safety tips for dealing with flooding:

  • Turn around, don’t drown: Avoid driving on flooded roads. If you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around and find an alternative route.
  • Follow evacuation routes: Do not attempt shortcuts, as they may be blocked.
  • Stay away from floodwaters: Be cautious of snakes, insects, and other animals that may be present near floodwaters and your home.
  • Keep children and pets away from hazardous areas and floodwaters.
  • Avoid using potentially contaminated water for cooking, drinking, or personal hygiene.
  • Offer assistance to those in need, especially individuals with special needs, older adults, those without transportation, large families, and people with disabilities.
  • Report downed power lines to the utility company and refrained from stepping in puddles or standing water near them.
  • If any gas or electrical appliances are flooded, do not use them until they have been inspected for safety.
  • Dispose of any food that has come into contact with floodwater.
  • Take photos of home damage, including buildings and contents, for insurance purposes.