FEMA learns from Red River Valley floods

road closed.jpg

MPR file photo April 2011

The Cass County, N.D., sheriffs department is still patrolling roads closed or damaged by floodwaters, as flooding remains a problem in some rural areas of the Red River Valley.

This week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recognized the department’s work in the 2011 flood. Region 8 FEMA Administrator Robin Finegan sent a letter to Sheriff Paul Laney praising the sheriffs Tactical Operations Center set up to respond to flood emergencies.

The TOC helps coordinate emergency response among local, state and federal agencies including the North Dakota National Guard, the North Dakota Highway Patrol, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Customs and Border Protection, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Tactical Operations Center uses smart board technology to allow emergency responders to pull up photos of every home and road in the county.

FEMA staff were apparently impressed with the operation. In her letter to the sheriff, Regional Director Finegan wrote “FEMA’s Response Operations staff plans to propose this Tactical Operations Center (TOC) approach as a ‘best practice’ for national implementation.”

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