Ready for floods? FEMA base up and running in Arden Hills

11:04 PM, Mar 16, 2011   |    comments
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  • Ready for floods? FEMA base up and running in Arden Hills
  • Ready for floods? FEMA base up and running in Arden Hills
  • Ready for floods? FEMA base up and running in Arden Hills
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  • ARDEN HILLS, Minn. -- If your travels take you past the old ammunition plant off of 35W in Arden Hills, you may notice some activity.

    It's not construction crews building a Vikings' Stadium; The new tenant is FEMA.

    "This is called an incident support base," FEMA Public Information Officer Tom Kempton said. Kempton arrived Tuesday, the 95 trailers he was surrounded by preceded him by a couple of days. "FEMA and the federal government are making sure commodities are pre-positioned."

    The trailers are chalk-full of supplies that communities may need when the flood waters surge in this spring.

    "Food, water, blankets, cots, those kind of items," Kempton explained.

    Fourteen trailers were full of bottled water and 80 generators were ready to roll at a moments notice. Twenty staff members have already arrived.

    "What we can take from the sight is a reminder that you need to get yourself ready, you need to get your family ready," MN Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Kris Eide said.

    Eide practices what she preaches. Not far from her office in downtown St. Paul, workers were prepping for floods. The state's Emergency Operations Center is already up and partially running.

    Dozens of charts and maps are squeezed in between the latest forecasting and mapping technology. In this room you'll find direct lines to nuclear power plants and law enforcement officials.

    "We're in for the long haul," Eide explained. Right now, her staff is putting in 12 hour days. Those shifts may double in time once the flooding begins.

    Back in Arden Hills, there are enough supplies for 30,000 people. The base is practically on the shoulder of I-35W, and will likely serve at least a half a dozen states in the Upper Midwest.

    "As this stuff is needed, it'll go right out of this facility as fast as possible," Kempton said.

    There are 6 cabs ready to hitch a load and roll at all times. If you haven't noticed, the activity begins before the flood.

    (Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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