Coast Guard Evaluates Flood Need

By: Jake Wasikowski
By: Jake Wasikowski

“Always ready.” That’s the motto of the U.S. Coast Guard. A few days ago, this team arrived to the metro to support emergency agencies.

This Coast Guard team can launch any of their three boats into the water quickly to help with evacuations, transporting people or equipment.

“It’s important for us to be able to get people out of any type of harmful situation with all the dangers that come from rising waters and flood damage,” said Chief Adam Authement with the Coast Guard.

Douglas County Emergency Managers asked FEMA to send boats mainly for evacuations. The 16-foot flat-bottom vessels will add to Douglas County’s other boat.

“If we do have a levee breach and people aren’t able to evacuate in a timely fashion or decide to stay in their homes, if there is a rescue, we’re going to need the boats,” said Dan Stolinski with Omaha Fire and Rescue. “And this team would definitely assist us in that.”

The DART, or disaster and response team, previously responded to the Memphis flooding to help with evacuations, and it specializes in urban and rural areas where there’s not usually water. The members of this team have been getting themselves familiar with not just the river, but with the Omaha area itself so they can quickly response if disaster strikes.

“Time is of the essence whenever you’re dealing with any type of water situation,” Authement said.

The U.S. Coast guard will be in town for the next two weeks, and they may stay or be relieved by another team once their time is up. The team, however, is not designed to operate in swift waters.

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