Historic Disaster Photos Available

We often think of disasters in terms of the lives lost and the property damaged. We think of the names of towns associated with those disasters, Barneveld, Siren, Ladysmith, and Oakfield, just to name a few.


A new collection of historic photographs just released by Wisconsin Emergency Management and the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections shows the devastation brought to those towns and others. Even more importantly, these newly released images shows the people of those communities pulling together and helping each other in the face of great loss and suffering.


With the 500 new images just added, there are now 900 images available to the public online, in addition to historic issues of Wisconsin’s Civil Defense News Bulletin. The collection will total over 2,000 images when complete.


“The faces tell the story, of resilience and survival, which echo from their time to ours,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula. “Above all, the images of emergency responders and volunteers show how Wisconsin residents come together to help their neighbors rebuild.” 


The photos highlight the fact that disasters can strike anywhere in Wisconsin, and remind us that everyone—families, businesses, community organizations, and governments—should plan and prepare for what to do if a disaster hits their community.


September is National Preparedness Month. “The most important step you can take today is to make a plan,” said Satula. “Talk to your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers now before disaster strikes.”  


For more preparedness information go to readywisconsin.wi.govTo view the images in the Wisconsin Emergency Management collection go to http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/collections/WI/WEMArchive.

1986 Fond du Lac flood.