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Back up, don’t get swept up

By Senior Airman Jannelle Dickey 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

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BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. – Heavy rain, severe weather and clogged drainage systems can increase flood risk and areas across the base may quickly become potential hazards.

Knowing flood alert terminology is the first step to prepare for flooding. Flooding terms are:

Flood watch: Flooding is possible. Stay tuned to local radio or television for weather updates and emergency instructions.  Create a plan for evacuation or relocation and build an emergency preparedness kit if necessary.  

Flash Flood watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground. Stay tuned to local radio and television for updates.

Flood warning: Flooding is occurring or will happen soon. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.

Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring. Seek higher ground on foot immediately.

Barksdale and local residents should be aware of streams, drainage channels and other areas known to flood suddenly in and around their homes and base. The worse areas of flooding on base are:

  • Along Bossier Boulevard

  • Intersection of Bossier Boulevard and Rickenback Avenue

  • Intersection of Langley Drive and Wilbur Wright Drive

  • Along Saratoga Drive in east side housing

“Avoid walking or driving through flood waters because just six inches of moving water can knock you down and two feet of water can sweep your vehicle away,” explained Senior Airman Amanda Benitez, 2nd Civil Engineering Squadron emergency management journeyman.

Flooding can occur at a moment’s notice and the floodwater may be unavoidable. It’s permissible to use base housing streets to avoid potential flooding areas.

As part of the 2nd Security Forces Squadron flood plan, personnel will put out traffic cones to block off the flooding zones. However, often times they’re not able to reach the area prior to the water rising. If cones are not placed during heavy rain and the roadway isn’t visible, the water is above vehicle tailpipes or it’s deeper than 2 feet, DO NOT drive through; back up and try a different route.

“If possible, avoid contact with floodwater altogether because the water may be contaminated with oil, raw sewage, gasoline, poisonous wildlife or other nasty chemicals,” said Benitez.  “Floodwaters may also be charged with electricity from fallen power lines.“

 

Natural disasters can’t be stopped, but being prepared will reduce the chances of injury and damage. If your vehicle stalls out, call 456-2551 or 911 to reach the Emergency Communications Center.

 

For more information on floods and other hazards, visit www.ready.gov.

 

For more information on building a disaster plan, visit www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/34330.