Richlands Police Department works around the clock to prepare people for flooding


RICHLANDS, WV (WVNS) — Parts of southwest Virginia saw heavy rain, making over half a dozen streets impassable in the Tazewell County. Allegheny Street in Richlands was one of those areas, located right next to the Richlands Police Department.

“The river starts leaving its banks. Once it’s done that, my units here at Richlands PD and the Fire and Rescue at Richlands, started hitting those areas pretty hard beating on doors just making people aware if the water was coming up,” Jerry Gilbert, Richlands Chief of Police said.

While the police department works hard to prepare for times like these, some in the area are use to it.

“Especially the folks that have lived back behind the PD, they have lived through quite a few floods, so they know pretty early on what it is looking like,” Gilbert said.

One Richlands resident told 59News she lived in the area for 67 years. She said she is good at knowing where the water will build up and how it will affect her home. If residents felt like they needed to evacuate their home, the police department doors are always open.

“We’ve told them if they have no place to go that we will allow them to shelter here until we make other arrangements. COVID has made things different, but if we need to we will still offer them shelter here,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert said the ongoing rule whenever there is flooding or high water is to “turn around don’t drown.”

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