It was Thursday, Sept. 12, and Friday, Sept. 13, when I became aware of some frantic messages on Facebook.
A planned vacation at a cabin at the Estes Park area of Colorado turned into a nightmare for my brother and his spouse. Their cabin on a mountain in a remote area was only about 15 feet away from a raging river that was continuing to rise.
The road that they took into the area was closed because of flooding, cell phones were down, long-distance calls weren’t working, but the cabin’s cable television and Internet were working. That explained the Facebook messages and videos they posted – an alternative to calling people.
They were listening to warnings about the rising river. They learned an earth berm was located above their cabin that might give way in the flooding. At that point, I wished I had a helicopter available, but I felt there was little that anyone could have done.
On Friday, with the river still rising and water lapping into the yard, they made the decision to try to find a way out, although the roads were questionable. They left in their car, found the entrance to the park, then went down the other side of the mountain. They reached a tourist center that helped them get a room at a hotel. And they finally got a little rest before leaving the next day to visit friends. They were safe.
In subsequent days, the news media reported eight deaths from Colorado flooding, with thousands of homes damaged.
Not too long ago, before this event, I was talking about disasters with someone who has taken Community Emergency Response Training. In the event of a mass disaster, people can’t expect to be saved immediately by rescue workers. Some may and some may not get immediate assistance. In some kinds of disasters, people will have to take action themselves. Assistance may come later.
Knowing when to take action and what action to take is a judgment call, and there is also a certain amount of luck to it. There are some steps you can take to be prepared in an emergency, though. While you can never be totally prepared for an emergency, some ideas can be found at www.ready.gov/.
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