While the world is focused on addressing the impacts of the pandemic, communities in our region still face serious risk from floods and severe storms this season. Illinois has never seen a year go by without damage from severe storms, with more than 11,000 severe damage reports filed over the last 50 years. The increase in extreme storms and precipitation, caused by climate change, is projected to continue. In addition, Illinois is having a wet spring, and when flooding occurs, the public health crisis will complicate efforts to respond.
What will flood and severe storm response need to look like while practicing social distancing? Is your community ready to respond?
Can you rely on volunteers to fill and stack sand bags around flood-prone areas? How will you be able to maintain social distancing for the safety of the volunteers?
If shelters or emergency housing are necessary, will you still be able to use your schools, churches, and assembly locations? Will you be able to secure hotel space to meet these needs?
How will the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Illinois Emergency Management Agency mobilize to assist communities during the pandemic? Do you know their plans or how you may need to adjust?
Unfortunately, rain and severe storms won’t stop for the pandemic. Municipal and county preparation and response will be critical. Investing the time to reassess emergency response plans now will ensure your community is better prepared in the event of a flood or severe storm.