UNION COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The coordinator of the Union County Emergency Management Agency spoke very highly of their community's efforts to mitigate flood damage.
"I would like to say how truly impressed I was by the cooperation of all the Union County Agencies, community members, levee commissioners, Anna Heights Baptist and Harvest Church, Coad Chevrolet, Wolf Lake Community Center along with ET Simonds Construction Company, Schaefer Enterprises and Southern FS for their selfless dedication to helping others," said Dana Pearson, Coordinator of the Union County Emergency Management Agency.
"Most of all I would like to recognize the residents affected directly by this event and thank them for working so hard on behalf of their community and for their cooperation during a very stressful time that could have had life changing consequences. Without the dedication of such truly sincere people that live right here in our county this could have had a drastically different outcome. Thank you to our Board of Commissioners for their ongoing support of our county agencies in allowing us the resources to help those in need."
The following is a daily list of the preparations and response to the flood event.
Tuesday, December 29
The Highway Dept., Sheriffs Dept., Ambulance Service Director and the Corp. and Levee Commissioners started patrolling the levee and roads.
Officials put out a press release advising the residents to consider evacuation until the river fell to safe levels and that, in the event of a breach, the tornado sirens would be activated.
The Sheriffs Dept. advised residents that chose to evacuate to fill out a form so they would know to do security checks while they were away.
The Highway Dept. closed the Old Cape Road near the Fair City area due to high water.
All levee roads were closed to the public on this date.
Wednesday, December 30
The Ambulance Service Director made contact with the POD hospital to advise them of the situation so they could be prepared.
Fifteen barricades with road closed signs were placed on the levee access roads.
Two electronic message boards were placed at Ware and Wolf Lake to advise residents that there would be a three minute siren warning in case of a breach.
The Red Cross was notified that Anna Heights Baptist Church was preparing to shelter residents if needed and to contact them to establish the supplies needed.
Thursday, December 31
The Ambulance Service Director and Union County EMA Coordinator drove to Silica Hill to see if it was passable in case an ambulance could get to Fair City in case of an emergency. It was discovered that the only way health officials could get to a patient was by a four wheel drive vehicle or boat.
The director placed a directive to his staff advising them of a staging area in case help were needed for evacuations. At 11 a.m., the NWS called to inform the EMA that the river crest had been raised to 50 feet.
Another press release was sent to the public, to advise the residents of the new predicted river crest prediction.
Sand boils were starting to appear along the levee which brought the need for sand bags.
A request was made to IDOC for a crew to help fill sand bags for the following day.
The EMA recommended that a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency be filed.
The declaration was signed and faxed to lEMA on this date.
Friday, January 1
The Highway Dept. hauled sand for sand bag crews.
IDOC inmates filled 2,000 sand bags and were transported to the levee for use by the volunteers.
Anna Heights Baptist Church provided meals for all workers.
Saturday, January 2
Volunteers were asked to help fill sand bags as more sand boils appeared when the water levels started dropping on the river.
The volunteers filled another 2,000 sand bags. Anna Heights Baptist Church provided food again.
Sunday, January 3
The need for sand bags continued as the levee commissioners and their volunteers worked around the clock to stabilize the boils.
IDOC inmates filled another 4,500 sand bags.
Anna Heights Baptist Church provided food again.
Monday, January 4
River levels continued to drop as workers continued to monitor sand boils in four hour shifts as things started to stabilize.
Tuesday, January 5
The river levels continued to fall, as well as the need for sand bagging.
It was decided by the Sheriff and Levee Commissioners to do a press release for Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. to advise residents that the voluntary evacuation was lifted due to the lower river levels.
A press release was put out to the public.
IDOC inmates were requested to help store sand bags to be used for future flood events.
All signs were taken down and returned to E.T Simonds Construction.