CARNATION–The winter of 2010-2011 was one of the most active flood seasons the Pacific Northwest has seen in years, with King County’s Flood Warning Center open to monitor flood conditions for a total of 21 days—well above average.
As La Niña conditions brew in the Northwest again this year, Take Winter By Storm, a campaign urging people to get ready before bad weather strikes, was at Carnation Elementary School last week — located in a flood prone community — to educate parents and kids about how to stay safe during a flood.
“We want the public to be aware of flood hazards, as well as the resources that are available to help them prepare for and recover from a flood event,” said Steve Bleifuhs, river and floodplain manager for the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks’ Water and Land Resources Division. “Even small streams and low-lying areas that appear harmless in dry weather can flood.”
The campaign is a collaborative, public-private effort between King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties, the City of Seattle, Puget Sound Energy, State Farm, National Weather Service/NOAA, American Red Cross and various retailers — which represent Washington state’s largest counties and city emergency management officers and energy utilities, the leading insurer of homes and automobiles, weather forecasters, first responders during disaster occurrences and local businesses.
These organizations have joined forces in a major multi-media public awareness campaign to raise community awareness of hazardous weather to help protect lives and property.
During a live demonstration at the school assembly, under the guidance of a Community Emergency Response Team, the Take Winter By Storm campaign demonstrated safe driving techniques in flood conditions, how to effectively use sandbags and items to include in a family emergency kit.
A Disaster Emergency Response Trailer was also on display to show the community support mechanisms in place in case of an emergency.
Flood preparation tips include:
• When key roads are closed due to flooding, access to communities can become severely restricted. Make sure to monitor road closures in your community and have a family back-up plan in case you are not able to get home during a flood.
• Never drive around road closure signs or barricades; Driving through standing water is the leading cause of flood-related death. Flooding can conceal dangerous road damage or downed electrical lines.
• An automated flood alert system is available in King County that provides real-time warning of potential high water on more than a half-dozen rivers. King County residents and business owners can sign up to receive King County Flood Alerts by visiting www.kingcounty.gov/flood, or by calling (206) 263-3400 during regular business hours to register by phone. Messages of potential high flows on any of King County’s major river systems can be sent by phone, text or email.
• Assemble several emergency kits with a radio, flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, bottled water and three days of non-perishable food and drinking water. Store a kit at home, work and in your car.
• Stay out of the way of flood waters. Play it safe and stay out of low-lying areas during times of heavy rains.
• If your basement is prone to flooding, stay out of the basement until the risk of flooding has passed.
• Take the time to compile a home inventory, including a detailed list of your possessions with receipts, descriptions, and—if possible—photos. Keep the inventory in a safe deposit box or other safe location away from your home.
•Store heirlooms and priceless family photographs on upper floors where they will be safer from flood waters. Items stored in basement areas should be shelved, and furniture should be on casters or shims away from floor drains.
• Do we want to plug buying flood insurance?
Find more useful tips at www.kingcounty/flood.
Visit TakeWinterByStorm.org for more information and helpful resources, such as downloadable preparedness and maintenance checklists, a family communication plan, a flood preparedness checklist and emergency contact cards.
You can find Take Winter By Storm on TV, radio, the Internet, as well as on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter: Facebook.com/TakeWinterByStorm.
Twitter.com@WinterByStorm, #stormready, #winterprep.
For more information on the Take Winter by Storm Campaign: Visit us online: www.takewinterbystorm.org.