The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to closely monitor response efforts to the Colorado flooding through its National Response Coordination Center in Washington and through its Regional Response Coordination Response Center in Denver, Colo. FEMA's priority is to support local efforts to keep residents and communities safe. We urge residents to continue to monitor weather conditions, and those in impacted areas to listen carefully to instructions from their local officials and take recommended protective measures to safeguard life and property while response efforts continue.
FEMA has two Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) and a liaison officer on site at the Colorado emergency operations center to coordinate with state and local officials to identify needs and shortfalls impacting disaster response. Three federal urban search and rescue teams, Colorado Task Force 1, activated as a state resource, Utah Task Force 1 and Nebraska Task Force 1, are on the ground to support search and rescue operations in hard hit areas. Also, FEMA has established Incident Support Bases (ISBs) in Aurora and Boulder, Colo. to proactively stage commodities closer to hardest hit areas and areas potentially affected by the severe weather and flooding. FEMA has identified additional teams and personnel to support the state should they be needed and requested.
On Thursday, September 12, President Barack Obama declared an emergency for three counties in Colorado, and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts. The declaration makes direct federal assistance support immediately available to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety in areas of Colorado, including Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties, affected by the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides.
"As flooding continues, FEMA recommends that residents follow the direction of local officials," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate.
"Residents who have evacuated should inform their friends and family that they are safe through text messaging, social media, or websites such as the Red Cross Safe and Well page."
The Red Cross Safe and Well program is one way concerned family and friends can search the list of those who may have registered themselves as safe and well. The results of a successful search will display a loved oneâs first name, last name and a brief message. The site can be accessed at: https://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php
According to the National Weather Service, the official source for severe weather watches and warnings, flooding advisories remain in effect for several areas in Colorado, and severe weather remainsin the forecast through the weekend in some areas. It may take several days or longer for river levels to crest and begin to recede.
Here are a few safety tips to help keep you safe during flooding:
â¢ If flooding is occurring or is expected, get to higher ground quickly.
â¢ Turn Around, Don't Drown. Avoid flooded areas.
â¢ Give first responders space to do their work by following local public safety instructions.
â¢ It may take several days or longer for river levels to crest and begin to recede.
Those in areas with the potential to be affected by flooding should familiarize themselves with the terms that are used to identify a flood hazard and discuss what to do if a flood watch or warning is issued:
â¢ Flood Watch: Flooding is possible. Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
â¢ Flood Warning: Flooding is occurring or will occur soon; if local officials give notice to evacuate, do so immediately.
â¢ Flash Flood Watch: Flash flooding is possible. Be prepared to move to higher ground; monitor NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio, or television for information.
â¢ Flash Flood Warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground on foot immediately.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are now being sent directly to many cell phones on participating wireless carriers' networks. WEAs sent by public safety officials such as the National Weather Service are designed to get your attention and to provide brief, critical instructions to warn about imminent threats like severe weather. Take the alert seriously and follow instructions. More information is available on WEA atwww.fema.gov/wireless-emergency-alerts. For more information and flood preparedness tips, please visit: www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov to find out how you can prepare your family for flooding and other disasters.
When natural disasters such as flooding occurs, the first responders are state, local and tribal emergency and public works personnel, volunteers, humanitarian organizations, and numerous private interest groups who provide emergency assistance required to protect the public's health and safety and to meet immediate human needs.