GRAFTON - A flood exercise is planned at 9 a.m. on Thursday, November 3, at Grafton City Hall, located at 118 E. Main St. in Grafton. Grafton Mayor Mike Morrow said the goal of this flood exercise is to test the city’s flood preparedness and go over their updated emergency response plans with state and local officials, who will also be present at the exercise.

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[GALLERY: 2019 Flood Photos of Grafton, Elsah]

“It’s going to be held in our big area where we do our meetings. We’re going to have city personnel there that typically operate in a flood, we’re going to have the county personnel here and there will be some state people here also,” Morrow said. “The Illinois Emergency Management Agency is going to be running the exercise.”

Morrow said when he first took office, one of his top priorities was updating Grafton’s emergency management plans, as the portions of it that had been written down were spotty at best. Not only have they gotten the entire emergency plan in writing, but they’ve also included pictures to illustrate different flood levels and the actions needed to be taken at those levels.

“We came in and got everything down in writing,” Morrow said. “I sat down with [GTEC President] Paul Arnold, one of the legends here in Grafton who’s worked through all the floods. There’s a lot of certain things that happen at certain levels of the flood … ‘Okay, we’re now at this level, what happens? This is the level where the 18-wheelers don’t go up here, this is the level where the road gets closed off here,’ and all the little details these guys would do to make that happen.”

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As part of this updated planning, Morrow also started an Emergency Committee and gave specific roles to city officials in the event of floods and other natural disasters.

“I also instituted an Emergency Committee for the City of Grafton, and that has all the major players - the Mayor, the Chief of Police, Department of Public Works, and GTEC - but we also have, in each of the wards in Grafton, we have people with specific things that they’re doing - for example, flood roads, who’s going to be the boat captains, those types of things,” Morrow said. “The committee has met several times and it’s not just for floods, it’s also for preparedness for tornadoes and those types of events too.”

Morrow asked the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to put Grafton through a flood exercise after touring IEMA facilities in Springfield after meeting with them and county officials. He said the IEMA’s expertise will not only help Grafton but the rest of the county as well.

“They’re the experts in it … they come down to help us - number one, put me through it as the new mayor, but also the new people we have in operation here - and it’s just a good exercise for everyone,” Morrow said. “They’re going to go ahead and use that for the county also, to give them certification too for the year for doing it.”

Morrow said he’s looking forward to the exercise in November and that the Grafton area will be better prepared as a result.

“Instead of thinking about it when the emergency happens, you actually have something in place that you can implement and continue on. They’ve had experience with that and they’ll be coming down to help us with that,” Morrow said. “I’m very grateful for the assistance we’re getting out of the state and also out of the county. I think IEMA does a great job … we’re looking forward to it.”

“We just hope and pray that there never is another flood, but we always know that there will be,” Morrow continued. “But we’ll be ready as best we can for the next type of emergency that hits.”

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