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Fifth Annual Flood Safety Awareness Week

Lawton_Perhaps you recall the flooding in Texoma in May and June of 2007.  With spring arriving on Friday, and with the chance for spring rain with heavy downpours, it's important to know the dangers that can be lurking in floodwaters.  The Fifth Annual Flood Safety Awareness Week this week is the National Service stressing that flood season officially begins. 

East Cache Creek has risen out of its banks several times recently, and while there was no water above the banks.  On Monday, when rain season hits, the area can provide numerous dangers. It's why the National Weather Service wants to get the word out about flood safety.

Floodwaters are more dangerous than some may think.  "It is the number one killer of people," said Comanche County Emergency Management Flood Plain Administrator Chloe Lewis.  "It actually causes more deaths than tornadoes or any other weather type of incident."  With flooding, there always is more than meets the eye.  "There could be places where the road has eroded away - there could be a big hole there," she said.

Hidden dangers become more dangerous once a vehicle becomes trapped in the waters.  "Their tires actually act as flotation devices, and it doesn't take more than a few feet of water to actually pick up a heavy duty pick up and move it down the creek," said Lewis.  When a car is swept away, not only is it dangerous for driver and passengers, but also for those fighting to help.  "We have actually have had incidents where firefighters were killed having to rescue people, so it is really important that they (drivers) realize that the decision that they are making is going to affect a lot of other people, too," she said.

So, the slogan ‘Turn Around - Don't Drown" is not only catchy, it's especially important to remember.  "They get used to going home from work the same way - they don't stop and think of other routes they might be able to take," she said.  "We can replace belongings - even though it is difficult - but we can't replace a person's life."

Officials say it's important throughout the year to plan alternative routes to and from work, to get used to the different options available if the road you are accustomed to taking is closed.  Lists of road closures are available at both www.comanchecounty.us and www.kswo.com.  If you do not have internet access, you can call 211 Monday - Friday from 8 AM until 5 PM.
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