Editor’s note: The Nevada Appeal presented the Carson City Board of Supervisors, the mayor and city manager an opportunity for a column.
With low temperatures in the teens, much higher than average snowpack in the Sierra and the onset of winter, now would be a good time to review your emergency preparedness. We’ve all seen the forecasts for a strong El Niño this winter, and while it’s hard to predict what effects we’ll see here in the Sierra Region, it’s definitely a good idea to be ready for a wet winter. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as we could use the water and many of us also enjoy winter sports. I went skiing this past weekend and was amazed at the amount of snow. In November, no less! The big concern I see this wet season, however, is the increased possibility of major flooding.
So, let’s focus on emergency preparedness. I’ve learned the hard way that accurate information is the most important thing you need in a fast-moving situation. The City uses a telephone application method called Code Red that can reach landline/home phones and also make wireless alert notifications for cellular phones in affected areas. Please take a minute and sign up for emergency notifications on the Carson City website at http://www.carson.org, find the Community page and click on Emergency Notification.
I’d also recommend that you download the Code Red Application for your smart phone so you can receive alerts based on your geographic location. It’s free and we keep your information confidential. During an emergency, the City will also post information on our Website, Facebook Page and Twitter to keep residents updated.
The City’s Deputy Emergency Manager, Stacey Belt, has created an extensive Emergency Management page under the Fire Department section of the City website. Please also take some time and examine the information and resources on that page.
City Storm Water Engineer Robb Fellows recommends that residents know their risks and take appropriate action. If you have not already done so, take a good look at where you live. What will the most likely impacts of a wet winter be? And, what would the most dangerous impacts be? Clearing ditches, culverts and sandbagging flood-prone areas now will pay dividends in the future. Many residential subdivisions have storm water systems built to handle five-year events (meaning the system pipes will handle this relatively small storm that has a 20 percent chance of happening each year.). Some larger roads and intersections, near the freeway, are built to handle a larger 100-year storm.
The important consideration is that at some point, every flood control system can be overwhelmed. Last summer, we actually had two, back-to-back 200 year events. This leads me to my last point; take the time to prepare a family disaster kit that includes at a minimum:
Water, one gallon of water per person per day for five days, for drinking and sanitation
Food, at least a five-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries for both
Flashlight and extra batteries
Copies of important Family Documents such as insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
Solar charging system for cellular phones
We are blessed to live in a beautiful area with abundant recreation opportunities, but it’s important to keep in mind that the City was built between mountains and a river. Northern Nevadans are famously resilient; prudent planning and action now will help mitigate the effects of any emergency situation.
Nick Marano is the city manager of Carson City. He can be reached at email@example.com or 775-887-2100.