Don't ignore flooding dangers

Monday, June 20, 2011

Currently, we have seen many rivers and tributaries in Northwest Iowa swollen, bank-full, or spilling over due to snow melt in Northwest Regions, rains, and gross mis-management of the Missouri River flood-proofing system by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

There are vital, official flood terms that Iowans should be aware of and take seriously at this time of year, including:

*Flash Flood or Flood Watch - Indicates flash flooding or flooding is possible within the designated watch area. When a watch is issued, be alert and ready to take action.

*Flash Flood or Flood Warning - Flash flooding or flooding has been reported or is imminent. You should take necessary precautions and actions at once.

In addition, there are several safety precautions residents can take to avoid being stranded, injured or worse during spring flooding.

*Learn the safest route from your home or business to high, safe ground should you have to leave in a hurry.

*Develop and practice a 'family escape' plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.

*Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.

*Stockpile emergency supplies of canned food, medicine and first aid supplies and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean, closed containers.

*Plan what to do with your pets.

*Have a portable radio, flashlights, extra batteries and emergency cooking equipment available.

*Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, gasoline stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days. Have a small disaster supply kit in the trunk of your car.

*Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels. When predicted flood levels are broadcast, you can determine if you may be flooded.

*Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.

Above all, don't assume anything. Check with the authorities and your friends and neighbors to help you determine the severity of the flood threat and react accordingly for the safety and well-being of you and your loved ones.