How the Department of Emergency Services Works Ahead of Rising Waters


The Governor declared a statewide flood emergency on Wednesday. Several entities, like the North Dakota National Guard, the Department of Emergency Services, and the State Unified Flood Command respond when disaster strikes. When flood waters rise, it often affects several counties across the state, all at once. It’s a team effort, KX News Reporter Malique Rankin spoke with one department head on how they make it happen. 

There are 53 counties in North Dakota. Whether it’s ice jam flooding or tornadoes, it’s the responsibly of the State Department of Emergency Services to respond.

Cody Schulz; Department of Emergency Services: “Coordination, Collaboration, and Communication.” 

Cody Schulz oversees that department. He says while they work alongside state and federal government, it all begins locally.

Cody Schulz; Department of Emergency Services: “The first information that comes in is from the local emergency managers. We say disasters start and end locally. We lean on information coming from the locals.”

Governor Doug Burgum activated the North Dakota State Emergency Operations Plan–
Directing all state agencies, including the North Dakota National Guard, to maintain high readiness levels with flood response resources.

Cody Schulz; Department of Emergency Services: “They are part of all of our planning and operational meetings, and they are a resource of last resort as well.”

If flooding becomes overwhelming for residents, the state steps in with resources, deploying the National Guard.

The State Unified Flood Command also met Wednesday. It’s based out of DES’ Emergency Operation Center, bringing in all state agencies to best handle flood concerns. They discuss flood forecasts, and preparation steps to stay ahead of the rising waters. 

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