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Pennsylvania Silver Jackets' flood risk management website.

Pennsylvania Silver Jackets' flood risk management website. (Photo by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Courtesy Photo)

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Posted 3/13/2013

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By Fred Furney and Ashley Williams


During a flood, residents and business owners are overwhelmed with pressing needs so information flow becomes vital. Community officials’ responsibilities escalate as they must notify its residents of shelters, keep people informed of upcoming weather patterns, and ensure that everyone has the best resources available to make informed and safe decisions.   However, information flow is also critical before a flood and after it occurs. Preparation and knowledge are keys to being well-prepared for a potential flood; also, if affected by high water, community members will need to know who to contact to begin to repair and rebuild.

In an effort make it easier for Pennsylvanians to get vital information and keep informed before, during, and after a flood, the state Silver Jackets team created a Flood Risk Management website. This site became public in January 2013.

“Outreach is one of the main focuses of our Silver Jackets team, and this resource allows us to communicate with our stakeholders,” said Stacey Underwood, Pennsylvania Silver Jackets Coordinator. “It’s a one stop resource for anything you may need to know about a flood.”

The web site is divided into three categories: general information/before the flood, during the flood, and after the flood. Each section is divided into the most frequently asked questions regarding floods and provides a variety of tools and resources to answer each question. Information includes links to gauge data, weather patterns, emergency management contact numbers, family preparedness plans, and flood insurance information.  It also addresses short term and long term recovery concerns, possible funding, and necessary permits.

“This is an excellent resource for all stakeholders in the Commonwealth,” says Angel Gillette, the Keystone Emergency Management Association Easter Area President.  “Although flooding is Pennsylvania's number one risk, there wasn't a place where people could get information quickly without having to sift through an overwhelming amount of websites. The Flood Risk Management Virtual Tool keeps it simple.”

The Pennsylvania Silver Jackets team will promote the website through various partnering organizations, as well as encourage feedback to improve the site and generate new content.  The goal is to have flood information readily available and extensively used by residents throughout the state.

It was a collaborative effort to compile a comprehensive list of resources under one umbrella site due to the fact that many agencies provide some type of flood assistance.  All Silver Jackets member agencies fully cooperated to accomplish this task and are listed below:

  • United States Army Corps of Engineers

  • Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

  • Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency

  • Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

  • Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

  • United States Geological Survey

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency

  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – National Weather Service

  • United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resource Conservation Service

  • Susquehanna River Basin Commission

  • Keystone Emergency Management Agency

  • Pennsylvania Association of Flood Plain Managers

  • American Rivers Organization

For more information, please visit the site at: http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Home/SilverJackets.aspx.  Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

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