First responders prepare for flooding on Indy`s north side

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Residents in Indianapolis are preparing for flood waters to rise as all the rain that fell north of Indianapolis continues to make its way down the White River.

“With the data that we get we can watch the gauges and start to see where we are going to get the problems,” IFD’s Chief of Special Operations Kevin Jones said. “(Our crews) are always ready, but we go through and we get extra boats ready to make sure, ‘hey if we do have an overwhelming call for service,’ that we have extra resources.”

Chief Jones and his crews are constantly monitoring the National Weather Service’s flood maps to gauge river levels in the area.

Currently, most of the gauges are calling for moderate flooding for neighborhoods on the north side near the White River, but the gauges are not far from indicating major flooding.

“Just the rain here is not what affects us, it does contribute to it, but all the rain we’ve had across the state,” Jones said. “Anything north of us through the storm systems gets into the river and it’s coming this way, and so that’s where we watch the data, look at the predictions and try to prepare for that.”

Chief Jones explained he’s been working with residents in the Ravenswood Neighborhood and surrounding communities to improve the department’s emergency flood response.
He said one challenge for first responders is that most of the people who live near the flood prone areas are used to the flooding and don’t want to leave their homes.

While they usually just fine inside, sometimes conditions can get so bad where companies are forced to shut off utilities to certain areas.

“When we get to the point there’s potential for utility companies to say, ‘for public safety,’ they are going to have to shut utilities off, that’s going to create issues,” Jones said. “So we want them to be aware of it so it’s not a surprise.”