Monday, March 30, 2009

Fargo Floods: March 27

Events of Friday, March 27, 2009

Location: Fargo, North Dakota/Moorehead, MN area

Disaster: Red River Flooding

From 10:30 pm until 7:00 am, I am managing the shelter...our first night, we have a population of only 32. That's good. As I'm exhausted.

Two reporters show up at the shelter during the shift. One wants to film the clients in their beds. Uh - sorry, pal - that ain't happening. Against our rules, as we respect the privacy rights of our clients. The other guy just wants some quotes, and so we do a quick interview.

At 6:00 am, Good Morning America shows up to film. They are allowed to film outside the doors only, as again, we don't want cameras on our clients without their permission.

Finally, 7:00 am arrives - and it's time to head home. I watch a little of the media coverage of the flood - they've hit the 3 million mark on the sandbags - and now it's just a matter of waiting and seeing. I finally drift off to sleep, only to wake up at 1:00 pm. Oh, woo hoo - a whole 2 hours of sleep.

Before we leave to go back for our 10:30 pm shift, I get a call from HQ, telling me to tell my team they need to have at least 2 days of clothing and all essential medications with us at all times. If the levees fail, we may not be able to get to our hotel - so we must carry our supplies with us.

When we arrive at the shelter, our client population is now 60. BUT - we are warned that approximately 100 firemen will be arriving some time during the night. And we will need to shelter them. Sure enough - at 2:00 am, all hell breaks loose, as OVER 100 firefighters arrive all at the same time!!!! My team pulls it together, though - we only have 5 people, but we got the job done. And efficiently, too, I might add!

Frank, the site manager, asks my team to stay until 10:00 am that morning - to assist the morning team, so they won't be overwhelmed now with almost 200 clients.

We are seriously dragging...almost dead, actually - but the morning passes and soon it is time to go back to the hotel.

We get back and there is the local paper on the hotel registration desk. On the front page, there's an article about our shelter - and a quote from none other than - ME! I am famous! :-)

Time to crawl into bed...I'll sign autographs later when I've had more sleep.


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