Pitkin County, CO) – A new webpage has been launched by Pitkin County on behalf of the Incident Management Team (IMT) team keeping tabs on spring runoff. The webpage is intended to be the “one stop shop” for flood preparedness. It’s called “Be Flood Safe” and is located on the Aspen/Pitkin county website homepage at www.aspenpitkin.com – click on “Be Flood Safe” under the “Community” tab. The web page includes information about how to plan ahead for flooding in low lying areas, and how to be ready and stay safe should flooding occur. It also includes information about flood insurance, river levels, where to get sand and sandbags and how to build a sandbag levee.
“Because the snowpack is so high this spring we have been getting a lot of inquiries from people who live near rivers and creeks about how to prepare,” said Mud/Flood IMT Public Information Officer, Pat Bingham. “We thought it would be helpful to put all of the information in one, easily accessible place,” Bingham said.
The webpage information emphasizes the importance of signing up for Pitkin Alert at www.pitkinalert.org. Pitkin Alert is “a free community notification system that allows officials to immediately contact members during a major crisis or emergency that delivers important emergency alerts, notifications, and updates to wireless devices, including cell phones and email accounts.”
The IMT is relying on Local newspapers and radio stations to communicate any flood-related breaking news that occurs. The reverse 911 system will be used should an evacuation or other “life, health, safety” emergency occurs and door to door advisories will be conducted if necessary.
“We’ve met with the residents of the two mobile home parks in Basalt that are most likely to flood if the rivers rise quickly,” said Mud/Flood IMT Incident Commander, Stewart Curry. “The residents are mostly Latino and we’ve communicated to them how important it is for them to prepare for flooding and not count on others to do that for them. We’ve been emphasizing how important it is for people to line up a place to go should they be forced to evacuate their homes temporarily,” Curry said.
The multi-agency Incident Management team formed in early May to coordinate planning and emergency response should flooding occur. Officials are using information supplied by the National Weather Service, Water Conservation Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and around the clock river checks done by local law enforcement personnel. Local volunteer citizen “river spotters” are also calling in information to the team so it can be proactive about when and if water levels could begin to cause problems.
Pitkin County and Basalt Public Works Departments have dropped sand and sandbags at the Lazy Glen mobile home page and at both low-lying parks in Basalt – the Pan and Fork and Roaring Fork Mobile Home Park. Sand and sandbags have also been dropped at Elk Park in Redstone.
“We hope only residents who really feel there could be a direct threat to their homes in these areas will avail themselves of the sand and sandbags we provide. Others should purchase sand and sandbags from outlets online or at local hardware stores,” Curry said.
The goal of the combined flood management effort is to help citizens help themselves. In the event of flooding emergencies, the priority of rescue personnel will be to respond to health and life safety and infrastructure issues. Residents in low-lying areas that are able are expected to prepare themselves and their property for the advent of flooding.