Many parts of the United States have had more than their share of heavy rain this spring. Residents of Nashville, Tennessee, are still cleaning up after the devastating storm that hit their city and surrounding area, May 1st through May 2nd.
On June 11, a flash flood killed twenty campers and injured more in the Albert Pike Recreation Area, in Arkansas. Located in a secluded valley where the Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers meet, heavy rains caused the waters to rise 8’ per hour. By the time most of the people realized what was happening, it was too late for many to escape. Forecasters had issued a flash flood warning for that vicinity; however, there was little chance of any type of cell phone or other method of communication in this remote location that could have warned them.
June 14th brought 10” of rain to parts of Oklahoma City, and several counties in Oklahoma. Several persons were rescued from vehicles when rains swept them off the road. A cab driver was drowned while trying to push his stalled cab out of floodwaters. Officials said the car was in two feet of water; however, the current was so swift, it swept him away. Many roads and bridges are heavily damaged and will take months to return to service.
Having known someone who was rescued after being stranded in their car during heavy rains, their first-hand advice, of course, is to try to get to high ground. It was raining so hard during their experience it was difficult to know exactly where they were. By the time the rescue team arrived, water was well inside their car, and they had to be taken out through the windows of the car. A physician who was trapped in his vehicle in the recent Oklahoma City incident, reported that he was advised to roll down the windows because once the water got high enough to short out the electrical system, he would not be able to do so. Events such as this remind us that sometimes things really are out of our control.
We want to repeat some earlier guidelines to protect those involved in flood clean-up:
- Take precaution from insect and mosquito bites.
- Extreme caution should be used with possible chemical and electric hazards; the fire or police department are better equipped to decide what should be done.
- Also wear rubber or plastic gloves, boots, and other protective clothing to guard from contact with floodwater.
- Be sure tetanus shot is current (within 10 years).
- Maintain good hygiene during cleanup operations, wash hands with soap and running water as often as possible during the day.
- Do not allow children to play in floodwaters, or with toys that have been in floodwaters.
- Wear eyewear and head protection. Sunscreen needs to be worn, as well.
These safety items, such as disposable clothes, respirators, goggles, gloves, and insect repellents can aid in protecting those who are involved in this or any other clean up operations. Take precautionary measures, not chances on becoming ill.