Keep Away the Cold - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Keep Away the Cold

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The flooding on the Platte River is getting better, said officials.  But, it still has the potential to turn into a nightmare before Christmas.

Emergency management crews inspected the Platte River valley on Tuesday, taking measurements and wondering if the worst is over.

Right now, 60th Road, Monitor Road, and the worst, Shoemaker Island Road are closed. The goal is to get them back up and running quickly, but it all comes down to the weather.

There are all kinds of suggestions over what to do, including dynamite to fix the problem.

"I don't think Homeland Security allows us to have possession of that," joked Casey Sherlock, Hall County Roads director.

For emergency personnel, the ice dam is too big a problem to just blow up.

"It's not like you have a beaver dam that's 10 feet across and you blow it up and everything's
fixed. Just imagine a continuous dam for five miles; I mean where do you start," said Sherlock.

For officials it starts right at Shoemaker Island Road, surveying the damage that's done.

"Parts are as deep as three feet," said Sherlock, a spot that on Sunday resembled a road and on Tuesday looked like a pond.

"This is one of those near disasters. I think the warm day yesterday came right at the perfect time and the warmer days we get the ice will break up," said Emergency Management director, Jon Rosenlund.

"It's just like turning the faucet on a chunk of ice. It eats right through it," added Sherlock.

Over the next few weeks, emergency personnel will be keeping a close eye on the weather. If it gets cold again, below freezing, the Platte River could once again freeze up, forcing all the water back over Shoemaker Island Road.

"The ice jam didn't occur at the bridge, it started below it and backed its way up to the Alda Bridge," said Sherlock.

Even though Sherlock plans to have the roads fixed by the end of winter, it stands now as a reminder.

"Every home and family ought to have an emergency plan, you never know when flood waters will encroach on your home or some other disaster," said Rosenlund.

These tips are from Grand Island's Emergency Management.

Does your family or business have a plan in case of emergency?

We all must take steps toward our own preparedness at home and in the workplace. Preparing for the unexpected just makes sense.

The ability of any community to survive an emergency depends as much on the preparations taken by families and businesses as on a well-trained group of emergency responders. This applies to all disasters, from the single house fire to tornadoes and terrorist attack.

Some hazards common to Hall County include: 

  • Tornadoes and Severe Summer Storms 
  • Flooding 
  • Blizzards and Winter Storms 
  • Prairie Fires 
  • Water or Utility Outages

Preparedness Made Simple

  1. Make an Emergency Supply Kit.

    Every home and business should prepare with the supplies and resources needed to weather the emergency for at least three days. You'll need a gallon of water per person per day. Include in your kit foods that are easy to store and prepare. Rotate your food every 6-12 months.

    Always include a first aid kit and hygiene supplies to keep yourself clean and healthy. After any disaster, battling disease and infection are top priority. Be aware of your medical or other special needs and prepare appropriately. Consider a kit for both your home and your vehicle.

    Pack supplies like a portable radio, flashlight, batteries, and cash for transactions. Always keep a half tank of fuel in your vehicles.

    Sample Items for Your 72 Hour Kit
    When packing your 72 Hour Kit, it is easier if you think about what you would take on a three-day camping trip, including all your food, water and supplies. Below is a list to get you started:

    • Water (1 gal. per person, per day)
    • Food (High energy, non-perishable, canned, dried)
    • Focus on food items like canned soups, meats, stews, beans, and food that needs little or no preparation. Crackers, peanut butter, trail mix, granola, and other treats are also advised.
    • Change of Clothing (include wet/cold weather gear)
    • Blankets or Sleeping Bags
    • First Aid Kit
    • Portable Radio, Flashlight & Plenty of Batteries
    • Matches, Candles and Flares
    • Essential and Routine Medications
    • Tools, Utensils, Can Opener, Maps, Shovel, Ax & Rope
    • Extra Strong Trash Bags, "Zip-loc" bags
    • Toiletry and Cleaning Supplies (soap, washcloths, bleach, towels, feminine hygiene products.)
    • Store these toiletry and hygiene supplies in a 5 gallon bucket with a tight lid. If required, empty the bucket, combine with extra strong trash bags for a make-shift toilet.
    • Special items for Infants, Elderly, or Disabled Family
    • Vital Documents (wills, deeds, vaccination records, etc.)
    • Books, Toys, Comfort Items for Children
    • Cash for transactions, Credit Cards
    • Pen, Paper or Notebooks
    • Cell Phone & Charger (or Vehicle Charger)
  2. Have a Plan.

    Every home and business should plan what to do in case of emergency, from fire drills to arrangements for water and other supplies to maintain operations. Plan to: 

    • Contact family members or employees 
    • Evacuate by vehicle or on foot 
    • Shelter in place for short periods of time 
    • Continue business operations

    Practice your plan at home and at work. Every plan must be drilled so that barriers or problems can be identified and resolved.

    Out of Area Contact
    Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated during a disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).

  3. Be Aware.

    Early warning is essential in any disaster, but we must make ourselves aware of the warning systems used within our community. Families and businesses which utilize a variety of warning systems are always more likely to receive the earliest possible warning. Some of the warning systems available in our community include:

    • NOAA Weather Radio
    • Local Radio Stations
    • Cable TV
    • Text Paging & Email
    • Out door Weather Warning Sirens
  4. Be Informed & Educated.

    Even the most modest education in first aid, CPR, or emergency preparedness can prevent serious injury to you or a loved one, and can provide you with the skills to save a life.

    Training is available in our community through the American Red Cross and your local emergency management office. Citizen Corps Programs, such as Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), also provide the ability for businesses and neighborhoods to train and prepare.

    Get Ready Today
    For help or hints with your family or business preparedness, contact us at 308-385-5360 or email beready@grand-island.com.
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