Nashville Improves Emergency Response Since Flood - WSMV Channel 4

Nashville Improves Emergency Response Since Flood

Since last May's flood, Nashville has improved its emergency response to protect residents in the next weather emergency.

 

There was little warning and little time for Stanley Lemay and his wife to escape the floodwaters approaching their West Nashville home.

 

"It just came up so sudden. We were just overwhelmed," Lemay said. "When we walked out the door, we was waist-deep in water. I helped my wife out and carried my dog out on my shoulder."

 

While they all made it to safety, some of their neighbors weren't as fortunate. It's a scenario the city of Nashville is working to prevent in the future.

 

"I think everyone in Metro government, our citizens, we all have an acute sensitivity to rainwater," said Nashville Fire Chief Steve Halford.

 

Halford said first responders were lucky to have just taken a federal disaster training course and updated their emergency plan before the flood. But the flood also exposed the need for better preparation and communication in his department and with the public.

 

Now, every time there's a possibility of severe weather, the Metro Emergency Operations Center partially activates.

 

"That sensitivity is getting us in here faster. Probably nothing comes out of most of the events, but sometimes it does," said Halford.

 

Sandbagging proved highly effective in protecting the Metro Center levee and the Omohundro Water Plant. There's now a plan to have sandbags ready to go in the event of another flood.

 

"We've identified five locations along the Cumberland River where we may actually do the sandbagging and prestage those," Halford said.

 

Metro is also improving its emergency notification systems to warn people earlier. The idea is to be able to call a specific neighborhood and notify it of a potential emergency, and also do mass notifications via phone or text.

 

Lemay has almost completely rebuilt his home along Richland Creek.

 

"I love it. It's better and stronger now than it was before," he said.

 

Better and stronger is the way the city has rebuilt its plans for the next time a disaster strikes.

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