Scene Lights Help a Flood Fight in Elkader, IA

Flooding presents a series of logistical challenges. Conditions can change rapidly so proper planning and an effective strategy are key. C4L & Associates was on hand in Elkader, Iowa. The city was experiencing challenging flooding due to the nearby Turkey River, which put the heart of its business district in jeopardy.

Flood swollen Turkey River in Elkader, Iowa

Now that the threat is over, we wanted to share some of the specific dangers that responders had to deal with.

The people of Elkader got together and erected an impressive sandbag wall to help protect their city from flood waters. It was a phenomenal effort as the wall was over 6 feet high. It was a tense situation where citizens worked day and night to save their city from being flooded. In the end, the city was saved thanks to an incredible sandbag wall being built to combat rising water levels.

Elkader residents build a sandbag wall to prevent flooding.
Elkader, Iowa residents build a sandbag wall to prevent flooding.
6-8 foot sandbag wall in Elkader, Iowa

Despite the impressive wall, it was a scary night for residents as the rising water levels along with rapid water movement and floating debris (including trees) made for a tenuous situation. Had the wall been breached, the waters would have overtaken the wall and significantly damaged the city.

Risk #1: Safeguard Electrical Equipment and Critical Infrastructure

Power was shut off in the middle of the day before. Since water and electricity don't mix well, a plan was needed to move sensitive equipment to a place of safety. As an act of prevention, power was shut off mid-day. Generators that were utilized had to be placed strategically so that they wouldn't flood or be compromised.

In this instance, it was critical to preserve the downtown area. As such, a remarkable sandbag wall was erected. While only about 6 ft tall in the image below, the wall was closer to 8 ft tall in other areas. The FoxFury Nomad Prime was positioned behind the wall to light up key working areas for response personnel.

C4L deployed the Nomad Prime Scene Light (seen below) for the early evening and night.

Photo Credit: C4L & Associates

FoxFury scene lights were positioned behind the sandbag wall and were used to help responders continue to plan and perform work throughout the night. These cord-free and battery powered lights were strategically positioned and could be moved if needed.

Thankfully, the hard work of putting up the sandbag wall paid off as the Turkey River crested at a 22.6 ft, which removed the major flood threat. In the end, it was the 4th highest crest in the city's history! It was one heck of a flood fight but a combination of hard work and some good fortune helped save this fine city and its hard-working community.

RISK #2: Severe wind and rain made certain tools inoperable

Flooding can be both dynamic and deadly. Careful watch and consideration is necessary. Drones would have been a great tool to utilize that night had it not been for the incredible danger posed by the combination of wind and rain.

Equipment needed to be sandbagged to prevent it from toppling over. The driving rain also affected visibility. As seen in the picture below left, a FoxFury BT2 hybrid light was used as a spotlight to assess the bridge across the Turkey river.

FoxFury Breakthrough BT2+ Flashlight Shines across Turkey River
Eddy Weiss adjusts the Nomad 360 Scene Light

Risk#3: Portability and an effective exit strategy

Flooding presents a series of logistical challenges. One of which is that you can run out of real estate as water levels rise. Below, a FoxFury Nomad 360 was placed atop the sandbag wall so that water conditions could be monitored, including water levels, floating debris and keeping a look out for any persons that might be in need of rescue.

FoxFury Nomad 360 Scene Light Over Looks Turkey River for Flooding

Photo Credit: C4L & Associates

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