It’s hard to escape the news about potential flooding in the upper Midwest this spring. We wanted to let you know that we, the American Red Cross Twin Cities Area Chapter, is preparing to provide disaster relief in our backyard and, if needed, around the region.
There are two phases for us: preparedness and response. We anticipate an all-hands-on-deck spring, with plenty of ways that Red Cross volunteers, donors, and others, can pitch in, whether you prefer to be on the front lines assisting clients through damage assessment, sheltering, feeding, and casework, or in supporting roles such as public affairs, staffing, logistics, dispatching, fundraising and more.
Our flood preparedness goals:
- To meet with emergency management from each county and major city in our service area. The goal is to clarify expectations and to learn more about the population and demographics in potentially flood affected areas. Our initial discussions indicate that the areas of highest risk include Hastings, St. Paul, Newport, and Shakopee.
- To have facilities on standby for use as shelters in high-risk areas. We are meeting with owners and stakeholders of buildings that would be best suited for use as Red Cross shelters. This will allow us to determine building availability, to conduct walk-through for shelter set-up and to handle paperwork in advance.
- To practice our disaster response skills with staff and volunteers. Like you, we want to be ready for the floods. Veteran responders will be offering skills refreshers in all areas of disaster response.
- To have all available volunteers in our database up-to-date. The Red Cross responds with volunteers who are ready and willing to help. We will reach out to our volunteers asking them to double check that their paperwork is complete.
Our flood response plans:
- If we are called upon to assist, we will respond. We have good relationships with our local emergency managers and will be working closely with them as always to verify news reports if it appears that we are needed, but not called.
- We will provide a Red Cross shelter for families who need a safe and warm place to stay. During a flood response, this is generally the best action choice because we can publish the location and be ready to accept those who need safe and warm shelter. At the shelter we will be able to provide health and mental health assistance as well as tending to basics such as water and food.
- In anticipation of widespread effects, we will treat calls as having an impact on multiple families. Our working assumption will be that the first flood call will be followed by more calls for assistance. We will open shelters in the areas of greatest need and ask others to travel to those shelters.
We will update you as preparedness and response plans are fine-tuned.
Thank you for everything you do year-round to make sure that the Red Cross stands ready to help those in greatest need during the most difficult times.
Click here to learn more about Red Cross services and programs.