Harrisburg, PA – We’re no strangers to flooding here in Clearfield and Jefferson Counties. Any time it floods, it’s bound to be inconvenient. But when flooding happens at a school building, it threatens one of our most valuable assets… our kids.
The Pew Charitable Trusts did a county-by-county assessment of the flood risk at public schools in all 50 states.
Laura Lightbody is the director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Flood Prepared Communities Project. She hopes that people understand what they lose when rising water damages a school building.
“When schools are impacted by flooding, it means a lot more than just a day off of school,” she points out. “It can impact families, disrupt child care, and sometimes put that emergency center for communities out.”
The report includes recommendations for policymakers to help reduce the risks to their schools.
Lightbody says communities can take several steps to help keep their schools safe.
“Such as redirecting water, elevating utilities from basement areas, to larger investments such as improved storm-water management or drainage,” she points out.
Federal and state governments often will assist local communities in projects to improve flood protection. Lightbody says that’s an investment that pays off.
“It’s textbook math,” she states. “Every $1 invested in mitigation saves $4 in recovery costs. So let’s make those smart investments now, and protect our kids from future risk.”
Nationally, more than 5,000 schools are located in ZIP codes where half or more of the area is designated a high-risk flood zone.