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Flood of '98 - Haley Amick Story

In the immediate time of the flood it was a very surreal and scary experience. It had been raining since that morning, pretty heavy and when we came back into the neighborhood, there was a police officer who flagged us down and asked if we lived in the neighborhood. When we told him ‘yes’, he told us that we were beginning to flood and he needs us to evacuate so we got home, looked over at the river and saw the water rising.

The most stressful part of evacuating was definitely the time frame. The police officer who pulled us over also knocked on our door a few minutes later and told us we needed to get out very quickly. I believe he gave us a time frame of about twenty minutes. We got out in ten. Our neighbors who left five minutes after us didn’t make it out. They had to be rescued off the top of a neighbor’s house by a boat.

It took months to clean through contaminated wood, but we had family and friends that came out to assist us, non-profit organizations, emergency responders, local universities… we learned the value of family and friends at the point, and we learned how possessions really, really don’t mean anything as long as you have each other and we really got to see the best in our family, our friends, and our community.

As a survivor of the Flood of ’98, now as an adult looking back, I realized it’s shaped the way I view natural disasters and emergency response. I take it very seriously, maybe more seriously than those who haven’t been through a natural disaster, because I’ve experienced the feeling of “this can’t happen to me” and realizing that it can.

I teach my children the importance of emergency preparedness. We have plans in place at home, it’s very important to have a plan. Have a bag packed, know what you’re going to do with your pets, know different options for getting out of your neighborhood, for getting out of your house. Be in touch with your neighbors. Have everything, every scenario planned out, because in the face of danger it’s easy to panic. But it’s the person who is calm and who has a plan that gets out alive and who helps save others.