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American Red Cross opens disaster shelters along St. Joseph River

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Following what officials are calling a 500-year flood, the American Red Cross has opened disaster shelters for those displaced by flood waters.

According to the organization, there are more than 400 homes affected by flooding.

Goshen, Elkhart, Elkhart County, and South Bend have declared a State of Emergency.

If you need a place to go due to the flood, the organization has opened five locations:

Michigan

Berrien Springs Middle School – 1 Sylvester Ave, Berrien Springs

Wesley United Methodist Church – 302 Cedar Street, Niles

Indiana

First United Methodist Church – 333 N. Main St, South Bend

Central Christian Church – 418 W. Franklin St, Elkhart

Grace Community Church – 20076 County Rd 26, Goshen

The American Red Cross also offered tips on flood clean up and safety:

  • Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice, have an emergency response kit
  • If a flood or flash flood warning is issued for someone’s area, they should head for higher ground and stay there.
  • People should stay away from floodwaters. If someone comes across an area where water is above their ankles, they should stop, turn around and go another way. If they encounter a flooded road while driving, they should also turn around and go another way. If the car is caught in rising water, they should get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground.
  • It is important to be especially cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.
  • Children are curious and should be kept out of the water.
  • Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damages.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
  • Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
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