April showers may bring May flowers but they can also result in more lethal flash floods. Are you prepared to respond during such incidents? Do you know how to protect both yourself and the citizens in your jurisdiction when a nearby babbling brook becomes a thundering death trap?
According to the National Weather Service, flash floods are possible in any area of the United States; all it takes is an unusual amount of rainfall during a relatively short period of time. What is important to remember is that this rainfall does not necessarily need to occur at the same location as the potential flooding. Heavy rainfall upstream can result in catastrophic results miles away, even if that area experienced little or no rainfall of its own.
Bottom line, you need to be prepared to respond to potential flood-related emergencies no matter where you work. Follow the tips below to get started:
1. Know your jurisdiction. Every cop knows where to find the criminals in their town, where they live and where they hang out. You should also know where the potential flood areas are. Furthermore, you need to know how to get to these areas after local bridges and roads are under water.
2. Be prepared. Once the flooding starts, it is already too late to develop a plan. Your department should have a flood response plan ready ahead of time and every officer should be familiar with it and know where it is kept. This plan should include such information as available rescue resources, staging areas, alternative housing locations for displaced residents and emergency contact information for agencies that may be able to provide assistance or equipment.
3. Personal safety first. As the old saying goes, you are no help to anyone if you become a casualty yourself. With this in mind you should approach potential flood incidents with extreme caution. NEVER attempt to cross flooded waterways, either on foot or by vehicle, unless the area has been surveyed first. It only takes a few inches of fast moving water to knock you off your feet or sweep a vehicle away. If it is necessary to enter a flood zone, make sure you are wearing a personal floatation device (life jacket) at all times.
4. When in doubt, evacuate. No one likes being told to leave their home or business behind, and telling citizens to do so is sure to cause your department additional grief. However, waiting until it is too late will not benefit anyone involved and will likely result in avoidable and potentially dangerous rescue operations. Work with city planners and legal staff ahead of time to identify when and how mandatory evacuations can be implemented.
5. Identify if YOU will be endangered by potential flooding. If flash floods do hit your jurisdiction, it is likely to be an all hands on deck type of operation. If you are busy protecting your own property you will be of little help to anyone else. Likewise, if you are at work and preoccupied with concern for your own family you will be distracted and not functioning at your best. If you live in an area likely to impacted, have a plan for your home and family so you know they will be safe whether you can be there or not.
Follow these tips and you are well on your way to being prepared for a flash flood situation.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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