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American Red Cross readies for heightened flash flood threats

By Rachael Plath, Good Morning Colorado Meteorologist/Reporter, r.plath@krdo.com
Published On: Apr 16 2013 07:15:45 PM CDT

The Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross is putting plans into motion to ensure it is ready when flash flooding occurs.

The Waldo Canyon Fire left heightened flash flood and mudslide concerns in its wake.

To ensure it is ready if disaster strikes, the Pikes Peak Chapter of the American Red Cross is preparing for the worst-case scenario.

It told KRDO Newschannel 13 that it has a disaster relief trailer already stashed in Manitou Springs, so it is ready if flooding occurs.

The trailer is loaded with medical and standard cots, blankets, nursing supplies, food, water, comfort kits and other supplies needed to open an emergency relief shelter.

“It’s easier to move people than it would be to haul these up.  So, we’ve got them stashed there just in case we need them,” said Bill Fortune, with the public affairs division of the Pikes Peak Chapter.

“We don’t want anyone in harm’s way.  So, by having these caches of supplies proactively available even if we aren’t able to reach the residents, we’ll be prepared to shelter them,” said Dr. Lizbeth Jordan, director of volunteer and emergency services with the American Red Cross.

Jordan said the Red Cross is also taking the lessons it learned during the Waldo Canyon Fire relief efforts, and applying them now.  For example, it is now ensuring medical cots are readily available.

“It’s not that we didn’t have medical cots.  It’s just that we had to have them brought to the shelters.  When seconds count, there’s time going by during a disaster.  It’s better that we already have them on hand,” said Jordan.

The Red Cross said additional training has been provided to volunteers and staff to ensure they are prepared.

It is offering an application for iPhones and Androids that provides a way for victims to transmit a message on social media indicating their safety.  For more information click here.

Stormtracker 13 is also offering a tool called Weather Call.  When severe weather or flooding threatens, users will get a call alerting them.  The service is free for those who live in an area of high flood risk because of the Waldo Canyon burn scar.  For more information click here.

The American Red Cross is sponsoring an event called “Waldo Canyon Fire Day of Service” on May 4.  This event will give volunteers an opportunity to give back by filling sandbags at Ute Pass Elementary School.  To volunteer, or get more information, call the Pikes Peak Chapter at 719-632-3563.

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