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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Chance for Heavy Rain Means Preparedness for the Red Cross

Story and photos by Bill Fortune/American Red Cross

Morning clouds and rain, after a couple of days with thunderstorms, would raise concern from anyone living in Colorado, especially along the Colorado Front Range. After the flash floods of 2013 and a dozen or more threatening days in 2014 it is easy to see how thunder and rain can be unsettling.

Jim Simms (L) and Rich Garcia tally supplies to be stored
at the Historic Congregational Community Church
 in Manitou Springs.
The Red Cross is no different when it comes to being concerned about the threat of thunderstorms, heavy rain and flash flooding so we take every opportunity to be prepared for events like that.

Recently our mass care team was busy stocking emergency supplies at the Historic Community Congregational Church of Manitou Springs. The church has been activated as an evacuation center on many occasions since the August 2013 flash flood. On some occasions the church was opened for just a few hours so that people who were stopped on U.S. 24 would have a place to wait out the storm. Other times the church was opened as a shelter for several days.

“The typical activation is only for a few hours,” said Sally Broomfield, disaster program manager for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Colorado. “Other times we have supported people overnight so we want to have what we need just in case.”

Rich Garcia (R) and Jim Simms go through the supply
trailer at the Historic Community Congregational Church
in Manitou Springs. 
Red Cross snack and water supplies were stored in the kitchen area of the church. A larger cache of supplies that would be used for overnight stays remains in a storage trailer just across the parking lot from the church with enough cots, blankets and other supplies to support 50 people.

Having supplies ready for an emergency is an important part of being prepared. Having a plan and a 72-hour kit at home can make the difference when seconds count. You can learn more about how to get prepared for an emergency on our website, www.redcross.org/prepare, or, by downloading the newest Red Cross mobile app, Emergency. The app is available for iPhone and Android phones and tablets and it will help you before, during and after the disaster. Go to www.redcross.org/mobileapps to learn more and to download the app. The app is also available on iTunes, Google play and other app vendors.

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