Red River flood response continues

With contributions from Petty Officer 3rd Class Richard Brahm.

Steve Revering, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Garrett Hodgson and Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild conduct wellness checks. Coast Guard members are working with state and local agencies to conduct wellness checks and perform rescues and other critical functions to ensure the safety of the residents affected by the flooding. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle.

Steve Revering, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Garrett Hodgson and Walsh County Sheriff Lauren Wild conduct wellness checks. Coast Guard members are working with state and local agencies to conduct wellness checks and perform rescues and other critical functions to ensure the safety of the residents affected by the flooding. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle.

For the past two weeks, Coast Guard personnel and assets have assisted in a multi-agency response to flooding along the Red River in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Petty Officer 1st Class Bryan Devore follows an airboat from Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, Detroit, out of a garage at the Grand Forks City Public Works building. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle.

Petty Officer 1st Class Bryan Devore follows an airboat from Coast Guard Station Belle Isle, Mich., out of a garage at the Grand Forks City public works building. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle.

Since our last update, a helicopter rescue crew evacuated a woman and her 3-month-old child from their flood-threatened home in Argusville, N.D. The rescued woman made a call for help to the tactical operations center in Fargo, N.D., as her home was overcome by floodwaters. The Coast Guard helicopter crew was able to land, take the mother and child aboard and fly them to safety.

To date, the Coast Guard has participated in the rescue of 12 people and three dogs in the Red River Valley of North Dakota. Lessons learned and preparation from previous floods has made a difference this year, as officials note that many of the homes which were impacted by the record 2009 floods are no longer occupied, accounting for the lower number of search and rescue cases this year.

There are currently 12 airboats involved with the joint flood response, pre-staged at key impacted cities in North Dakota, including Valley City, Lisbon and Casselton. Coast Guard, Fish and Wildlife Service and Cass County Sheriff’s Office airboats are on standby, but are not actively patrolling, due to careful consideration of their movements and potential adverse impacts to local levees.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Garrett Hodgson, Senior Chief Petty Officer Philip Robinson, Grand Forks County Sheriff Robert Rost, Chief Warrant Officer Rodney Tucker and Grand Forks County Corporal Thomas Inocencio, Water Rescue Team Coordinator, discuss flooded areas of the Grand Forks area on a map during a briefing. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Garrett Hodgson, Senior Chief Petty Officer Philip Robinson, Grand Forks County Sheriff Robert Rost, Chief Warrant Officer Rodney Tucker and Grand Forks County Corporal Thomas Inocencio, Water Rescue Team Coordinator, discuss flooded areas of the Grand Forks area on a map during a briefing. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Tara Molle.

As the airboats standby, additional assets are monitoring the flood’s impacts by air and land. Two Coast Guard rescue helicopters and their aircrews provide aerial support by conducting two flights a day while Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol have a team of personnel who are conducting welfare checks and road surveys with eight all-terrain vehicles.

“The partnership between Cass County Sheriff’s Office, Fish and Wildlife Service, Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard has allowed the citizens of Cass County to feel safe and secure in the knowledge they have immediate access to rescue due to the airboats and helicopters being in close proximity to their cut-off neighborhoods and developments,” said Sheriff Paul D. Laney, Cass County Sheriff’s office.

Check back with Compass later in the week for the latest on the Red River flood response. In the meantime, click here to see a video of the tactical operations center and here for a video of the airboats in action.

A Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew airlifts a woman and her infant from flood lands near Argusville, N.D., April 12, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Christine S. Brown.

A Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew airlifts a woman and her infant from flood lands near Argusville, N.D., April 12, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Christine S. Brown.

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