Lessons learned from 2013 Colorado floods can help with new catastrophes

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BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. -- The floods of 2013 were devastating, lives were lost and homes destroyed. Officials say in all the destruction, some lessons emerged as well.

Officials describe the scene in 2013 as horrific. While the images are awful, they're also seen as helpful.

“I saw people coming out of flood waters, some of them for the first time in three days, still wet, still covered in mud, shaking as bad as their dog was shaking," said former Colorado National Guard member Mitch Utterback, who was one of people on the front lines in 2013.

“Coordinate the military response, both the active duty from Fort Carson, as well as the National Guard response.”

As Florence churns in the Atlantic, Utterback said it's a good time to share lessons learned from Colorado's floods, lessons that can apply to any natural disaster.

“The United States is really good now, since Hurricane Katrina, at evacuating people, but evacuation of pets is still knowledge that catching up across the country," Utterback said.

Utterback says a lot of pets were killed and left behind the last time nonstop rain flooded the state.

“Many first responders don’t know those animals can go on the boats, they can go on the helicopters, they can go in the trucks, and they need to go in the trucks," Utterback said.

“There’s a federal law signed by President Bush in 2006 that says they need to.”

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