DENVER—An Advance Emergency Response Team (ERT-A) is heading to North Dakota Monday to work with state and local officials gearing up for major spring flooding expected to begin soon.
The team of 25 disaster specialists is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regional office in Denver, which helps to manage disasters in six west-central states, including North Dakota.
ERT-A members will be positioned at the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and in some local communities, working alongside specialists who are monitoring weather forecasts, river levels and local ground conditions, as well as helping assess needs and resources in the event of a disaster.
ERT-A teams are used to respond quickly to unfolding disaster events, bringing to states and communities expertise of available federal resources, disaster response and recovery programs, public information, planning, telecommunications and logistics. This ERT-A includes a Mobile Emergency Response Support team. A smaller contingent of emergency management specialists traveled to North Dakota earlier this week.
Officials from FEMA, other federal agencies and the North Dakota Division of Emergency Services (NDDES) have been working together for weeks to assess possible disaster impacts after early forecasts from the National Weather Service indicated that this year’s spring flooding could be worse than usual.
Some North Dakota cities saw record rainfall late in the fall which left the ground saturated and many ditches full of water when the first freeze hit. Heavy snowfall amounts in some parts of the state throughout the winter exacerbated the situation, literally laying the groundwork for possible spring flooding.
On March 13, Gov. John Hoeven issued a flood emergency Executive Order March 13, and requested that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provide assistance to Devils Lake, Red River of the North, and Souris River basins.
In recent days, both the state EOC in Bismarck (ND), and FEMA’s Regional Response Coordination Center in Denver have extended operational hours to monitor conditions and coordinate necessary resources among local, state and other federal agencies.
Since January, FEMA’s outreach efforts to North Dakota include:
- Ongoing coordination and information sharing with state officials and Congressional offices on forecasts, flood preparations and possible actions;
- Joint statewide media outreach, including media interviews and press kits of resource materials;
- Conducting five workshops on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for insurance agents and lenders;
- Joint participation with local and state officials for a series of 11 public information meetings throughout the state, urging North Dakotans to get prepared by purchasing or renewing flood insurance policies, and developing family emergency plans and disaster supply kits;
- Participating with the North Dakota Division of Emergency Services and Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) members on flood preparedness discussions;
FEMA officials continue to advise renters, homeowners and business owners to purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. Consumers are reminded that there is a 30-day waiting period from the time flood premiums are paid until coverage begins.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.