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State Emergency Operations Center responds to support requests from flood-affected counties

St. PAUL — When property or homes are in danger or destroyed, as they have been over the last week, local first responders and volunteers work tirelessly to protect their communities.

However, when there are gaps in what local governments can provide during a declared emergency or disaster, counties can ask the state for assistance.

“We know how hard local first responders and community leaders work during an emergency,” said The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) division Deputy Director, Kevin Reed. “Our job in the SEOC is to work with those leaders and provide state assistance where needed.”

HSEM is responding to these requests for help through the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) with its partners:

• Minnesota Department of Agriculture

• Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT)

• Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

• Minnesota Department of Health

• Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

• Minnesota Department of Corrections

• Minnesota National Guard

• Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Fire Marshal (SFM) division

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)

“We’ve spent the last several days witnessing the devastation our residents and business are enduring,” said DPS Commissioner Bob Jacobson. “In so many cases, it is simply unimaginable. We can’t change that, but we can be there for all those affected by these rains and flooding. This will not be a short-term solution. We are here for the long haul. To be a shoulder, to be a resource and to be there during and after the recovery.”

SEOC staff have coordinated closely with local jurisdictions and local emergency managers this week to provide the following resources to flood-affected communities across the state:

• The Minnesota All-Hazards Incident Management Team, a preidentified group of emergency responders from across the state, is assisting Jackson County with incident management.

• USACE has provided 175,000 sandbags and multiple water pumps to protect critical infrastructure in Rice, Le Sueur, Jackson, Rock, St. Louis and Blue Earth County.

• Tim Walz mobilized the Minnesota National Guard, and 44 soldiers are assisting Jackson County with water pump operations.

• The Minnesota Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters group has established shelters in Cook and Faribault, debris removal assistance and a 211 hotline to connect community members with volunteer resources.

• The Department of Corrections has provided 75 incarcerated persons from Faribault Correctional Facility to help with sandbagging.

• The SFM coordinated five firefighters from Luverne and Minneapolis to assist the Jackson Fire Department with two boats on standby for swift water rescue.

• USACE and MnDOT are working with local governments on critical infrastructure surveys and assessments, including flood modeling.

The state has also worked shoulder to shoulder with its Federal Emergency Management Agency partners, who have been on site throughout the week. This critical resource management allows the state to best meet the current and possible future demands from those counties affected by the flooding.

 

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