If a flood or other natural disaster were to occur today, would you and your family be prepared?
According to a study done by the Army Corps of Engineers after Chicago-area flooding in April 2013, many survey respondents reported they had little or no warning. Their first sign of a problem was when their home or property was already flooded. Many respondents reported less than 24 hour notice of a potential flooding event. Some had significantly less notice.
Being prepared is key to dealing with natural disasters.
The Army Corps of Engineers works to improve the resilience of communities and federal assets against the impacts of flooding. A key part of that is planning ahead. That may involve working with a community to help identify flood risk reduction measures or working with them to help develop warning systems. Many communities already have some time of emergency notification system. Since the April 2013 floods, the Army Corps of Engineers has worked with communities at risk of flooding, including the villages of Forest View and Midlothian, to develop flood warning systems.
For the Army Corps of Engineers, being prepared also means working with other federal, state and local agencies to makes sure our personnel are trained and ready to respond when needed. Responding to emergencies is a primary mission area for the Army Corps of Engineers. As part of the National Response Team, the Corps undertakes such tasks as bringing emergency power and ice and water to areas affected by natural disasters. The Corps also aids communities in recovery from disasters by providing services related to temporary roofing and debris removal.
Personnel from the Army Corps of Engineers’ Chicago District recently participated in an Illinois state-wide emergency preparedness exercise, “Operation Power Play 2017”. The event was an operations-based exercise simulating a response to a major flooding disaster throughout the State of Illinois as a result of a mock severe storm event. Over 50 public and private agencies were involved in the exercise and communicated with each other to practice the coordination of response activities which would be used during a real-life event. Training events like this help agencies learn to work together, to practice how each would respond in certain situations and to learn best practices from each other.
There are also things that individuals can do to make sure they are prepared for emergencies. Consider creating an emergency kit for your household. Tips for what to put in a disaster kit are available at www.ready.gov. The site also has information and resources to help individuals prepare for various types of potential emergency situations, both natural and man-made. For example, the section on flooding includes information for making a flood plan, basic safety tips and what to do after a flood.
The National Weather Service website www.weather.gov has information about weather forecasts, including flood warnings and river level data.
The April 2013 Post-Flood Report is available at www.lrc.usace.army.mil.