Minneapolis — The Minnesota incident management team played a key role in helping people in Florida in the days following Hurricane Ian.
A statewide group of experts, the All-Minnesota Disaster Incident Management Team, spent about three weeks away from home doing a variety of tasks.
“When we got there, things were very stressful and it was a very long day,” said Zach Lundberg of the Isanti Fire District.
A long day and a long mission. A team of healthcare, fire and public safety professionals described their time spent in DeSoto County, Florida: They set up base camps, cleared debris, provided food and water, and helped locals deal with wind and flood damage.
“They reached historic 500-year levels. They were well submerged in places that had never seen flooding before,” said Eden Prairie Fire Department Chief Scott Garber.
Frank Manera of Fort Myers Beach said, “This was the waterway there – right above the door. ‘There’s no electricity, no water.'”
The Mannella family from Anoka said teams like this helped them in the days after Hurricane Ian.
“We are so grateful for everything and the people. It’s incredible to see how many people are here to help,” said Christine Mannella.
While in Florida, our incident management team worked 12-15 hour days and slept in bunk beds in our trailers when we could sleep.
One of their jobs was to make sure the police and other responders had their own sleeping places and were safe at the scene. Her Kyra Crepin of Allina Health Emergency Management was touched by the gratitude of the locals.
“A note was left on my bed saying, ‘I really appreciate you being here. I really appreciate your expertise.’ Then offered to do our laundry.” said Krepin.
For some team members, this was the first emergency deployment. However, they agree that it was a life-changing experience for all of them.
Anoka County Emergency Management Ryan Kelzenberg said:
The team said it served about 500 people in police services, the National Guard and support staff, and also provided equipment and resources to local people.