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Preparing D.C. for the Next Major Flood

There are numerous agencies that have roles and responsibilities during a flood, and they all must be fully prepared to respond in order to reduce the risk of flooding to residents and the critical downtown infrastructure.  The D.C. Silver Jackets team completed a tabletop exercise on November 3, 2015, to test the effectiveness of its Flood Emergency Manual (FEM). This FEM is undergoing revisions and details how federal, District, and public agencies will respond to flood emergencies in the region including emergency closures (via sandbags or panels) that are part of the District of Columbia Levee System, also referred to as the Potomac Park Levee.

The revision to the FEM, last significantly updated in 2006, is being prepared and coordinated by the National Park Service, which is a federal co-lead for the D.C. Silver Jackets. Other major players include the D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) as the lead D.C. Silver Jackets agency; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District; the National Weather Service; and the D.C. Department of Homeland Security.

The D.C. Silver Jackets have also developed digital maps to help government leaders, emergency managers, and the public better predict flood impacts during high-water events along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers throughout the District of Columbia and the region.

The exercise, FEM, and maps better prepare the District of Columbia’s emergency services and other agencies to improve processes and measures that will help save lives and reduce flood risk to property.

Click here to learn more about the tabletop exercise.