By Mr. Franklin Fisher (Red Cloud)July 18, 2013
CAMP RED CLOUD -- Area I flood response teams are staged and ready should this summer's annual monsoon season bring floods and landslides like those that ravaged the region two years ago, officials said this week.
"Everybody's in a holding pattern, ready to react right now," said Marshall Downs, chief of the Operations and Maintenance Division of U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I's Directorate of Public Works.
Korea's torrential monsoon rains usually fall from early June to early September. In some cases they turn into destructive typhoons that trounce the peninsula with high winds and heavy rains.
Floods that deluged Area I in late July 2011 did an estimated $18 million in damage to three installations that comprise the Casey Enclave: Camp Casey, Camp Hovey and Camp Mobile.
Floodwaters surged into barracks, offices and storage areas, ripped away road beds, triggered landslides, disrupted training areas, clogged drainage systems with debris, and left an outdoor swimming pool immersed in four feet of mud.
"We have to be prepared to mitigate the heavy rains to keep from having damage to facilities, infrastructure and life," Downs said.
Preparations began in mid-May, he said.
Work crews have prepared sandbags and staged them at those places on Area I installations where flooding is deemed especially likely. They've also inspected buildings and other structures in areas prone to flooding and landslides.
They've tied down any objects that might otherwise be picked up by high winds. And they've got their vehicles and other equipment fueled and ready for flood response if called upon.
Those preparations were finished several weeks ago, Downs said.
Meanwhile, recent heavy rains have work crews busy fixing leaks, Downs said this week.
"The biggest thing right now is roof leaks," he said. ""We're battling leaks on a daily basis right now."
Besides the preparations already made, additional precautionary measures should be taken at the level of individual units and organizations, DPW officials said. Among them are the following:
• Review unit flood plans and make sure they're ready to carry them out.
• Ensure sandbags are in proper condition, and pre-position them, especially in low-lying areas.
• Keep debris out of drainage ditches and turtle ditches around buildings.
• Identify and stow Items vulnerable to destructive weather -- banners, open windows, loose objects, and so on.
• Order and fill sandbags through unit supply, as necessary.
• Identify unit level Crisis Action Teams and make a roster.
• Ensure that all monsoon-related service order requests through DPW are annotated as "MONSOON-Related."
In the event of flooding or any other weather-related emergency the Area I community will be given timely information and guidance through AFN radio and television, the USAG Red Cloud and Area I Facebook page, its .mil website, and the chain-of-command.