Are We Ready for a Flood?
by Matt Loveless
watch--> KLEW TV, October 9, 2009
LEWISTON - Emergency preparedness is put to the test in the Valley.
The Idaho Red Cross and Bureau of Homeland Security are hosting an overnight disaster drill at the Lewiston Community Center.
"What we're doing today is practicing when people show up at a shelter," said Idaho Red Cross Emergency Services Director Jodie Andrew. "How are we going to place them? Letting our volunteers set up the different areas: Registration area, sleeping area, feeding area, making sure that they know and understand how to take care of the public when they show up to the shelter."
The situation: An earthquake in Western Washington has caused the Brownlee Dam to crack, up the Snake River. Nez Perce County Emergency personnel have been notified the dam is in imminent danger of failure, and the LC Valley is about to face a severe flood.
Volunteers are instantly hit with nervous citizens looking for shelter, food, care for their kids and animals, and in many cases comfort. Andrew said most Red Cross volunteers in the Valley don't have this kind of experience, so even for a drill, it's pretty stressful.
"We're going to have some unruly behavior to test the volunteers on how to handle people that are kind of getting out-of-line and disrupting other shelter clients," said Andrew.
The drill wraps up Saturday morning, and that means participants are staying in cots at the community center overnight. The group will then evaluate itself.
Before the drill Friday morning, Andrew told the group this, or something like it, will happen someday.
"With the actors and with the partnership with the county, we're going to be able to give them as close to real life as we can on what they would expect if there was a flood," said Andrew.
Should We Trust? by Lynn Stuter, News with Views, 3/4/8
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