Flooding in a Small Town: How Brentwood TN Responded


The Flood of 2010 in Brentwood, Tennessee

If you are like many American’s, than you don’t think you have to worry about a flood devastating your home. You may be surprised to know that anywhere it rains, it can flood. In Brentwood, TN, they learned this lesson in May of 2010 when an unprecedented 14-17 inches of rain drenched Brentwood and much of middle Tennessee in less than 30 hours.


Saturday, May 1st, 2010 at Rosewood Valley Drive and Harpeth River Drive in Brentwood.

The catastrophic flood in Brentwood had a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. Although it seemed impossible, flood risk isn’t solely based on an area’s history. What resulted was one of the most costly non-hurricane related natural disasters in United States history. The flood caused various levels of water damage to 264 homes, mudslides, damage to roads and bridges, and even generated several fires in flooding homes.

Not all floods are alike. While some floods develop slowly, this flood developed in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. It turned the Little Harpeth River from a trickling river into a raging river.

Although an area’s history is a factor, flood risk is also based on rainfall, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to new construction and development.  As they learned in Brentwood, you should be aware of floods no matter where you live or work, but especially if you are in low-lying areas, near water, behind a levee or downstream from a dam.

floodsafetyFloods from these rains affected the area for several days after the rain fell, resulting in a number of deaths and widespread property damage, which is why Flood Safety Awareness week is crucial to educating communities about flood safety. To prepare before a flood strikes, create a communications plan, assemble an emergency kit, know your risk, prepare your home and sign up and create a Safety Profile at www.smart911.com. During a flood disaster, many will have to call 9-1-1 for assistance. Rising flood waters makes it much harder for first responders to locate the proper address because waters can be higher than mailboxes or even street signs. If citizens create their Safety Profile, they can include a photo of their home and other important details that can help save lives in these types of emergencies.

The City of Brentwood launched Smart911 to ensure that they have all the tools to protect their residents during everyday emergencies and natural disasters that only had a 1% chance of occurring. They want to give citizens the chance to help first responders help them when they need it most. As a city, they are still recovering from the flood and I hope you can use Flood Safety Awareness week to learn from their experience and prepare your family to safely prepare for and respond to any emergency you may face.




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