In September of 2013, a number of factors combined to produce destructive, deadly flash floods in northern Colorado, including Boulder and some Denver metro areas.
After the devastation that was suffered last year, it’s more important than ever that residents be prepared for the 2014 spring runoff. According to the Boulder Office of Emergency management, we do expect to see an increased flow in the creeks and rivers of Boulder County this spring. This will include some inevitable movement of debris from last years disaster.
In combination with the runoff, flash flooding with little to no warning is likely to be an issue. It will be important that residents keep an eye up and down the river basins and report unusual or hazardous conditions. Even if something looks like it may just be starting to develop into a potential hazard, residents should not hesitate to report it to 911.
Of course in addition to keeping an eye out for dangerous conditions, it’s crucial that individual residents have a plan in place for what to do during an emergency flood situation. Contingencies and courses of action should be discussed and prepared for now. Thought should be given to what to do if you’re at home, at work, your kids are at school, etc. Have a system in place for how you plan to communicate with your loved ones should disaster strike.
Always Climb to Safety
The first crucial decision to be made is whether you’re going to stay put or evacuate. The cardinal rule to keep in mind during a flood is to climb to safety. An all too common sight last year were vehicles being swept away after drivers were caught in dangerous conditions, so driving is strongly discouraged.
Preparing an evacuation or safety route from your home to higher ground and practicing it with your family is important. Having at least 2 routes to this higher ground is advised as is settling on a meeting spot outside your home.
Another important step in preparedness is to sign up for text alerts at www.BoCo911Alert.com. You may be unaware for instance, of the fact that hillsides near your location have become unstable and landslides may be imminent. In this case, a text alert may advise you of the need to move to a safer location. Chances of injury or death will dramatically decrease when the directions of these emergency text alerts are followed precisely.
In addition to the text alerts, a great way to stay informed is to invest in a relatively inexpensive NOAA weather radio or the NOAA Weather Radio app for iOS.
Prepare Emergency Supplies
It’s also extremely important to have a “Go Bag” ready should you have to evacuate your home. Make sure to include emergency items and important documents. A full list of recommended items can be found at www.BoulderOEM.com. Keeping an emergency kit at home so you can survive in place for at least 72 hours is not to be overlooked. During the 2013 floods, some residents in Lyons and Boulder County had to shelter in place for 4 days.
Lastly, residents are being encouraged to purchase flood insurance. Everyone in Boulder County is eligible for flood insurance. Find out more at www.FloodSmart.gov. A preparedness guide with more details is available at www.BoulderCountyFlood.org.
Last years tragedy took a massive toll on the residents of Colorado and with the Spring runoff on it’s way, there’s no time to delay in making the necessary preparations to ensure you and your family’s safety.