Lena Marie Bernard is prepared. Should Wolf Creek Dam fail and the Cumberland River in front of her house flood, she's got her weather alert radio. Her phone is in her front shirt pocket should she get a call from reverse 911 telling her to evacuate. And she's even got an escape route.
“That hill is the only chance I would have if I could make it up the hill,” says Bernard, pointing to the hill just north of her home.
But still, she worries.
“Well I'm just afraid. It could happen in the night. And I don't think we would get out of here in a car,” says the Creelsboro resident.
Over the next few weeks Bernard and her neighbors along the river just west of the dam that holds back one of Kentucky’s largest lakes could be getting a call with the message that reverse 911 is being tested.
If the dam fails, Gordan Miller's house would be under water. He's seen floods before. But it doesn't concern him now.
“I’ve seen floods. I've left out of here in a boat. It just doesn't bother me,” says Miller, who says rising waters would reach his home in minutes.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say it is highly unlikely that the dam will fail. But people wanting to protect their property are running into a roadblock. Flood insurance is hard to come by.
Russell County isn't in the National Flood Insurance Program. If the river floods today, people like Miller would lose everything.
“I’d be up a creek without a paddle. That's true. You can carry all other insurance, which I have but no flood insurance,” says Miller.
Emergency officials say they're working to include Russell County in the Flood Insurance Program.