‘They need it’: North Dakota firefighters to help with Hurricane Ida relief in Louisiana

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After Hurricane Ida slammed into Louisiana, the area needed extra helping hands.

Six North Dakota firefighters — five men and one woman — are en route to Louisiana to help with hurricane relief.

While there is no exact plan of what they’ll be doing when they get there, they said they’re there to help with anything necessary.

“We’re going to be assigned to a fire station down there. Primary duty. From what I know so far we’re going to do fire support for local stations,” said Paul Riely, Williston Fire Department captain.

“Anywhere from search and rescue, structure fires, whatever they need down there. We’re going down to give them our support. And do whatever they need done,” said Mike Walters, Williston Fire Department battalion chief.

Gov. Doug Burgum approved an Emergency Management Assistance Compact, which includes personnel from both Bismarck Rural and the Williston Fire Department, two water tenders and other equipment to aid local departments down in Baton Rouge.

“Doesn’t matter where you’re at in this country, somebody is going to help you no matter what. We’re almost all the way from Canada going all the way to the other side of the nation to help our fellow firefighters and fellow people just because they need it,” said Lydia Citta, Bismarck Rural Fire Department firefighter and EMT.

To make sure we aren’t left short-handed, the crew was selected based on who had the most availability.

“They had to ensure we maintained staffing at home. The only reason we were able to go is because we have enough people that we’re able to send four people down and still maintain adequate coverage of ourselves,” said Riely.

It will take the team two days to travel to Louisiana before they spend two weeks helping local efforts.

They are set to return to North Dakota sometime in mid-September.

Back in 2005, North Dakota also sent personnel to help out after Hurricane Katrina hit.

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