Covington residents may not be in the Howard Hanson flood zone, but the city has launched an alert system to keep information flowing for all types of emergencies.
According to the results of a public awareness survey conducted by the King County Flood Control District in August, residents in flood zones seem well aware about flood risks from the Howard Hanson Dam on the Green River. Just over 75 percent of respondents reported that they have heard about the flood risks and 67 percent say they know what to do in the event of an emergency.
But, how well informed are nonflood zone residents? The City of Covington has launched an alert system and emergency preparedness page on the web to address those concerns.
Although not in the flood zone, Covington residents are calling and writing the city to ask questions that they have been unable to find answers for through their own research. Most common questions include:
• Are we in the danger zone?
• Do we need flood insurance?
• What will happen to the city when it floods?
All are valid questions, which are not the main focus of existing outreach efforts. Still, residents out of the flood zone need be in the loop of information.
As unpredictable as the flooding may be, determining what secondary effects will occur in Covington is unpredictable as well. Its possible, if flooding is severe enough, that Covington may experience transportation problems from an influx of people fleeing the flood waters, drinking water issues, sewer backups, and the list goes on.
“We may experience high traffic volumes and backups on Kent-Kangley and state Route 18 as well as local streets. Commuters who cross the valley may not even be able to get to or from work,” said Glenn Akramoff, Covington Public Works Director. “We want our residents to prepare for these impacts while the City does the same.”
According to the previously mentioned King County survey, nearly 44 percent of the respondents would turn to the Internet as their No. 1 method to research flooding preparedness. Covington is hoping to reduce residents’ fears about flooding, help them make an emergency plan and provide information on H1N1 influenza through a new Web alert function and emergency preparedness Web page.
Concerned residents and businesses can use the city’s Web site as a tool to prepare. If there is a current alert, breaking news or update about the flooding or H1N1 flu, they will see an alert box with the information. Clicking on the alert will take them to the emergency preparedness page where they can learn about flood, flu and see answers to frequently asked questions. Non-urgent news will remain updated on that page as well and anyone can sign up to receive e-mail alerts through the Police E-Alert subscription.
To view the alert system and emergency preparedness Web page which is also full of links to agencies, tips, important phone numbers, current updates and more, visit the city’s homepage. The system will remain in place to address future emergencies as well.