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AS RAINS NEAR, THREAT OF LOCAL FLOODS STRESSED.

Byline: Kevin F. Sherry Daily News Staff Writer

While no one expects this winter to match last year's soggy output, as the skies darken and raindrops fall, the Ventura County Fire Department wants residents to be ready, just in case.

Too often the first time people think about flooding is when the water enters their homes, said Joe Luna, spokesman for the department.

``There's a lot they can do in preparation for the rainy season,'' Luna said.

First, people might want to have their roofs inspected now, before the leaks appear. Increased demand during the rainy season makes prices soar and repair workers scarce, Luna said.

``You'll be hard-pressed to have someone come out and do emergency repairs,'' he said.

Residents also should remove all debris from rain gutters and roofs, and clear drains so water does not back up.

``The whole intent is to make sure water flows freely,'' Luna said.

Residents need to monitor areas of traditional flooding and recent fires, he said. People can erect water or hillside diversions made of plywood, sand or dirt.

``All you do is direct the water away from your home and into a flood channel,'' Luna said.

For personal safety, people should never cross a flooded road or other area that has flowing water, either on foot or in a vehicle. People have died locally trying to do that, Luna said.

``It doesn't take a whole lot of water to flood a vehicle,'' he said.

Last year firefighters also risked their own lives to rescue youngsters who used the flood channel to bodyboard, Luna said.

``That one ride they're taking might be their last one,'' he said.

Area stores have stockpiled sand bags in preparation of area flooding.

Most fire stations also have sandbags, but only for emergencies, Luna said.

SAND AND SANDBAGS

The following is a partial list of Ventura County locations that are stocking sand, sandbags or both in preparation of the rainy season:

Camarillo: United Building Materials, 1212 Flynn Road.

B&B Do-It Center, 689 Mobil Ave.

Moorpark: Blue Star Ready Mix, 9035 Happy Camp Road.

Santa Paula: Fruit Growers Supplies, 111 N. Palm Ave.

The Mill, 212 N. Mill Street.

Simi Valley: Home Base, 1357 E. Los Angeles Ave.

Simi Pacific Building Materials, 609 E. Los Angeles Ave.

Thousand Oaks: Carlson's Building Materials, 1538 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.

Newbury Supply Co., 889 Mitchell Road

Orchard Supply Hardware, 1934 Avenida De Los Arboles

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BOX: SAND AND SANDBAGS (See text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Dec 4, 1998
Words:414
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