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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota National Guard assists with avian influenza response

Minnesota National Guard The Minnesota State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) called on the National Guard to deliver water for use in the disease containment effort as part of the state's response to avian influenza

More than 40 National Guard soldiers and 15 military water trucks from the Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion and the Brooklyn Park-based Company A, 134th Brigade Support Battalion are being used in the mission Large amounts of water are needed in foaming systems being used as part of the depopulation efforts, to control further spread of avian influenza virus

"Any time that we can fill a gap by providing services like this, it is a positive thing for the guard," said Capt Adam Riedel, the command and control officer-in-charge for this activation

The Guard members began assisting Monday and will work through Wednesday as additional water transport resources are identified

The National Guard became available following Governor Mark Dayton's declaration of a peacetime emergency, which says, "the Adjutant General of Minnesota can order to state active duty such personnel" The governor extended the emergency declaration 30 more days

"We are pretty proud of the fact that we can help out whenever we can on a state active duty mission; whether it's a tornado, avian influenza or floods," said Riedel "A lot of people in uniform in the state of Minnesota joined to do just that"

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security Emergency Management division (HSEM) activated the SEOC to coordinate the state's ongoing response to avian influenza

"We came up on a resource shortage," said Byron Schick, Incident Commander, USDA Veterinary Service Incident Management Team "We brought in foaming assets but didn't have the water assets to compliment that What it meant is, we would have a delay in using those assets With the Guard's assets we are able to deploy everything we had at one time which is ideal in making an immediate impact"

HSEM is coordinating resource needs with several state agencies including the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture

"From management of the incident we are really doing well," said Schick "It is excellent working with the state, local and especially the county Using the county Emergency Operations Center has been fabulous for us This is an outstanding collaborative effort right now"

April 29, 2015
by Staff Sgt Johnny Angelo
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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