Thursday, March 4, 2010
Pittsburgh public safety and emergency management officials say they are doing what the can to get ready for flooding this spring and they are urging residents to do the same. The National Weather Service says it is still working on its models but it sees no immediate threat of flooding in the Pittsburgh basin. However, with a saturated ground and a lot of snow in the Ohio River watershed, residents in the region should be prepared for flooding in the coming weeks. Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Michael Huss says everyone should put together a 72-hour emergency kit with food, water, medicines and battery operated lights and radios. He says anyone who saw flooding in 1996 should also think about getting things out of their basements, especially important documents. An emergency kit checklist and maps of flood prone areas can be found on line. Alerts will be posted on the same website as well as on Pittsburgh Emergency Management’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. The city has identified the most vulnerable low-lying areas and will be contacting residents and building owners in those neighborhoods. The city is also trying to build a better database of the seniors in the area to make sure they are prepared and can be helped if the water stars to rise. The city is also reminding resident to learn how to turn off utilities and designate an out-of-town contact to communicate with other concerned family and friends. The mayor has asked residents to check on neighbors. He says you can let safety officials know if a person in your neighborhood may need extra support. Huss says Public Works crews have teamed up with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority to clear all city catch basins in low-lying areas.