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Maryland's Swift Water Rescue Team and Flood Management Plan Offer Better Method of Handling Floods

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By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Climate change has been on the forefront of concern for American citizens in the last few years. A recent article by the Miami Times argues that Miami’s hurricanes could become stronger in the next few years as climate change continues to happen. Certainly, the United States has seen some serious hurricanes potentially associated with climate change in the last few years, heightening the concern about disaster situations.

Swift water rescue teams can dramatically mitigate emergencies associated with heavy rainfall; these teams can also prevent injuries and death. The State of Maryland has a fantastic swift water rescue program that works well for managing these types of emergencies.

The Importance of Swift Water Rescue Teams

Swift Water Rescue Teams are an integral part of rescue when it comes to flood emergencies. Trained first responders are needed to effectively and safely remove people stranded in fast- moving water. The more jurisdictions that have trained swift water rescue teams, the better those jurisdictions will do in emergency situations.

The State of Maryland’s Flood Management Plan

The State of Maryland has a white paper available to the general public that highlights how they handle swift water emergencies. Maryland has experienced several cases of swift water, such as the flooding in Ellicott City, so the state developed an extensive plan to handle water-related emergencies.

The white paper explains that Maryland’s swift water rescue program is conducted through collaboration between the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and a few other agencies, including the Maryland National Guard. Maryland also specifies that all jurisdictions do not need to adopt the plan.

Without the adoption of the plan, however, any jurisdiction opting out will not receive resources. This incentive is rather clever, because it forces communities to come together when they are faced with potential flood emergencies.

Maryland’s Plan Serves as Useful Model for Other Emergency Management Agencies

With the approach of Hurricane Florence, significant amounts of rainfall have led to serious flooding situations throughout the country. Maryland’s swift water plan is a good example of how communities can better handle and plan for these types of emergency situations.

Allison G. S. Knox teaches in the fire science and emergency management departments at American Military University and American Public University. Focusing on emergency management and emergency medical services policy, she often writes and advocates about these issues. Allison serves as the At-Large Director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, Secretary & Chair of the TEMS Committee with the International Public Safety Association and as Chancellor of the Southeast Region on the Board of Trustees with Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social Sciences. Prior to teaching, she worked for a Member of Congress in Washington, D.C. and in a Level One trauma center emergency department. Passionate about the policy issues surrounding emergency management and emergency medical services, Allison often researches, writes and advocates about these issues. Allison is an emergency medical technician and holds four master’s degrees.

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