Columbia, MO (STL.News) – Record flooding along the Missouri River may be winding down; however the Mississippi River continues to rise, and communities throughout Missouri are bracing for the possibility of more flooding. The University of Missouri System and MU Extension are working on the frontlines during and after flooding to assist recovery efforts.
“Flooded roads, leaky basements, property loss and damaged crops are just some of the issues facing Missourians right now,” said Marshall Stewart, chief engagement officer at UM System and vice chancellor for extension and engagement at MU. “Additionally, scammers try to profit off of others’ misfortunes, adding insult to injury. The UM System is committed to helping communities prepare and respond to natural disasters.” The MU Extension’s Community Emergency Management Program provides educational and technical assistance to individuals and families, local governments, schools and organizations during and after disasters.
“Regardless of size or impact, all disasters are local events, and thus it falls upon the local community and nongovernmental organizations to manage events when they occur,” said Conne Burnham, director of the program. “MU Extension serves as a key resource for the public, emergency services and public officials because we are part of the local communities.”
Burnham says that emergency preparedness and personal safety begin with the individual, and she urges Missourians to use resources offered by MU Extension as they prepare for and deal with rising water. When floodwater recedes, MU Extension also will play a key role in helping communities clean up from the damage. The program offers some of the following tips when dealing with a flood:
- Be prepared with an evacuation plan. If you are told to evacuate have options available.
- When flooding is imminent, move to higher ground and away from rivers, streams, creeks and storm drains.
- Check your sump pump and plug basement floor drains.
- Shut off all utilities — electricity, gas, water and phone — if flooding is imminent.
- Move valuables and hazardous materials to higher locations.
- Have a disaster supply kit with first-aid supplies, at least three gallons of water per person, food, battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
- Never drive through moving water. Even 18 inches of water is enough to cause a car to float and get swept away.
- Keep the car fueled. Gas stations might not be able to operate.
“When disaster strikes Missouri, our university will always respond,” said UM System President Mun Y. Choi. “Without hesitation, we always will do what we can to serve the people of Missouri.” Visit MU Extension for more information and additional resources on how to deal with area flooding.