Dallas County gets FloodReady
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 16, 2006
The Selma Times-Journal
No one can prevent flooding from occurring, but steps can be made in preparation for flooding conditions.
Emergency management agencies from Selma and around Alabama and Georgia gathered in the County Commissioners’ courtroom of the Courthouse Annex on Tuesday for a FloodReady public awareness meeting.
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The purpose was to let the public know that Dallas County is making preparations to become FloodReady.
According to Selma EMA Director Brett Howard, Dallas County will be the second county in the state to reach FloodReady status.
“FloodReady does not mean flood proof” was reiterated throughout the meeting.
The idea behind the program is to save lives through awareness, education and planning.
In order for a county to achieve FloodReady recognition, it must satisfy all the criteria established by the FloodReady committee members.
Some of the criteria to be met in order for an area to be FloodReady certified are:
Identify flood prone areas.
Develop a formal flood plan, which includes holding emergency exercises.
Have multiple ways to receive flood information and alert the public.
Increase public awareness, education and readiness through annual community seminars.
Develop local spotter networks for rainfall, river and stream levels and other pertinent hydrological data
Develop procedures to relay timely information on flooding in your community to the National Weather Service.
Have at least one community meeting in which the NWS and other partners participate.
Residents from areas more prone to flooding such as Selmont and River Oaks, were present with questions and concerns.
Living in River Oaks, resident Howard Gray says getting a reading in that area is pretty much impossible.
“It’s no problem to get a reading at Selma.
There’s no problem to get a reading at Marion Junction,” he said.
“To get a reading in River Oaks is like plucking chickens in flight.
You don’t get nothin’.”
Gray – a disaster control officer for the River Oaks Volunteer Fire Department – and other Dallas County residents have signed up to be
Storm/Creek Watchers, who are essential in the FloodReady plan.
The data the watchers feed back to the committee members are put into a data base and used to better predict the flooding in their areas.
Being comical, yet serious, Gray says he gets many calls from residents in his area when it rains.
“When my telephone rings off the hook, ‘How high is the water gonna go,’ I say get you a ruler and stick it in the ground and watch it cause I sure don’t know.”
Pam Cook of the Selma EMA suggested that Gray send the gauge readings from Selma and Marion Junction to the EMA to distribute to the proper agencies in order to get an accurate prediction.
No date was given as to when the county will be certified as FloodReady, but
Cook says the public will be kept informed.
Representatives giving PowerPoint presentations at the meeting were Bob Allen of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mobile, Rick Treece of the United State Geological Survey in Montgomery, Jonathan Atwell of the Southeast River Forecast Center in Peachtree City, Ga., and Michael Garrison and Roger McNeil of the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
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