Facilities Strengthens Flood Response Plan


When angry black clouds sped through northwest Michigan on the early afternoon of May 28, the Grand Traverse Commons and Munson Medical Center became a bullseye. A weather station at the hospital showed 3.12 inches of rain – the second highest amount recorded since the station was established in July 2001.

Across town at Cherry Capital Airport the gauge recorded just 0.71 inches of rain.

Storm Revealed Opportunities

Munson Medical Center Facilities Director Ed Belanger said the storm that filled a Kid’s Creek tributary causing it to spill its banks and flood the hospital basement, MPB, Cafeteria, HR area, elevator shafts, and more – exposed opportunities in the hospital’s flood response plan.

 “We have revised our Flood Emergency Response Plan with hope that in any future similar event we will be able to reduce damages and down times through our planning and preparation,” he said. That plan was recently approved by the Munson Medical Center Emergency Management Committee.

Since then, several changes have been made to limit the impact of future high-water levels on the creek or other water-related challenges that can occur on the campus, including:

  • A protocol and timeline for action when a flood warning is issued by the National Weather Service or the county -- or when the south branch of tributary A on Kids Creek rises to 48 inches.
  • Installation of a SHE (Storm Hazard Event) Shed on campus that contains ready-to-deploy sandbags, door dam posts and panels to help keep any water out of hospital entry areas, as well as water pumps and hoses.
  • Pre-planned work assignments to check storm drains, stage pallets of sandbags, and inspect culverts and the silt fence along the creek.

“Stationary engineers in the Power Plant are now assigned to continuously monitor the weather and alert the on-call Facilities Director when there is a storm watch or warning for the region, a forecast of more than .5 inches of rain for the region over a 12-hour period, or an isolated storm cloud or system reported to have caused damage that is heading our way,” Belanger said. 

Daily, Weekly, Yearly Assignments

Facilities has also developed daily, weekly, and annual assignments related to inspecting drains, gutters, and flood equipment maintenance.

If a similar flood event occurs in the future, the flood response plan also outlines the steps to be taken for recovery that would include flood damage cleanup, electrical inspections, assessment of any mechanical or information systems damage and more.

“Our plan gives us the ability to stage for the event as we put everything in place,” Belanger said. “It should take us about an hour to get everything staged. We believe the plan really strengthens our ability to prevent the kind of damage we experienced in May from happening again.”