Review what went right, wrong in flood fight

Published 3:25 pm Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Successful businesses and organizations at times will stop, evaluate past projects and discuss those things that have gone right or wrong.

For people, there are medical checkups from time-to-time where their health is evaluated, their weight checked, blood pressure monitored and, in consultation with their doctor, they develop a plan for improved or continued good health moving forward.

Such a checkup, or to use government and military terms, after-action report, is needed once the floodwaters have receded and the first part of this historic flood is behind us.

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With recovery efforts on the horizon, it is important for government officials to take inventory of what has happened over the past six months and review steps that were taken to fight floodwaters, protect life and property and support residents who were affected during the flood.

The best time to review such processes and actions will be upon us soon, and doing so ensures those thoughts fresh on our minds are written down, evaluated and learned from before the events of the past months become a distant memory.

While we are firmly behind the #finishthepumps movement — a movement that should only grow stronger as the full scope of damage from the flood is revealed — it is also important that the push for the pumps is not the only effort our residents and our leaders get behind.

Are there other changes that can be made to mitigate flooding? Is there work Mississippi Department of Transportation can do to protect vital infrastructure from future flood damage? What steps can utility companies take to make sure crucial services like water, sewer and power can endure during months of flooding?

All of these groups will be hard at work as recovery begins in a matter of weeks. Crews will be evaluating roads, while utility companies will be attempting to restore service and make repairs. Governmental agencies will be assisting in the clean up, while law enforcement and first responders will be on hand to make sure such work is done safely.

As that work begins, it is important to write down what we have learned, to make sure any mistakes are not made again. We need to make sure we are better prepared next time, because there will be a next time.