COUNCIL BLUFFS — Be prepared.
It's a phrase residents continue to hear as days of high Missouri River waters turn into weeks.
Officials continue to urge citizens to stay aware and be ready to take action if needed.
Iowa Homeland Security Administrator Derek Hill points out that while communities throughout western Iowa have worked hard to be prepared for the possibility of flooding, the residents of those communities also have to make sure they are prepared.
Flooding from a break in a levee could occur quickly, and citizens may have only minutes to evacuate, Hill added.
“The time to think about moving your precious possessions is now, not when you have only a few minutes to get out of your home,” Hill said.
Francis Clark of Dickinson & Clark CPAs said he and his staff have started to receive calls about losses that may occur because of flooding. Clark and accountant Sharon Blaha offered two pieces of advice for those not yet affected by the floods:
» Take pictures or videos of the contents of your home, business or personal property.
» Safeguard your tax records and any documents that show the cost of your home, business or personal property. An example would be the closing statement on your house.
Clark said those steps would assist homeowners with any insurance claims and aid in the calculation of any casualty losses.
Residents also should have an evacuation plan and an emergency supply kit ready to go. Homeland Security recommends a bag with the following items:
» Water and nonperishable food for each person for three to five days
» First-aid kit
» Battery-operated flashlight and radio, and extra batteries for each
» Extra clothing and bedding (including shoes)
» Personal hygiene items
» Prescriptions, baby formula, diapers and pet supplies
» Plates, cups, utensils and a can opener
» Copies of important documents such as driver's licenses, birth certificates, insurance policies and financial information
Store the kit in a place known to all household members.
Hill also urged residents in potential flood areas to look out for their neighbors with special needs. “Help them to get in touch with local officials who can provide them the help they need,” he said.