Alton Testing Remote Cameras To Give Early Flood Warnings

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ALTON, IL (KTVI)-- In the Metro East they’re testing tools that fight terrorism to see if they can help battle the next big flood.   Emergency management teams had helicopters in the air and vehicles on the ground near the Alton lock and dam Tuesday, but the focus was on a series of portable cameras along the levee.

The equipment, much of which is used by law enforcement, may be the next big thing when the next big flood arrives.  The cameras can give emergency managers a live, real time look at trouble spots along river levees.  They send a live feed right to the emergency operations center.

“If we have a weak link in the levee, I think video surveillance on a 24 hour basis is going to be very important,” Madison County Emergency Management Director Larry Ringering said.  “There’s a lot of indicators that will tell us that the levee is either weakening or holding steady.

It was a battle being fought on both sides of the river this past spring.

“This technology wasn’t ready to fully implement in the field,” Ringering said.  “What we want to make sure of now is that once we’ve got this technology in place we can utilize it to an effective mode.”

Both the portable cameras and one mounted on a helicopter were purchased with Homeland Security money.  They were originally designed to fight terror, but it’s quickly being discovered they’re suitable for other battles.

Illinois Emergency Management Regional Coordinator Stan Krushas said, “This equipment can be used for any type of event.  Natural hazard, man made.

“Through the homeland security funding we use an all hazard approach.”