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MnWARN coordinators visit Fillmore County for presentation


By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Apr 26th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Agriculture

Regional coordinators Marty Glynn and Steve Bushman and Jeff Dale of the Minnesota Rural Water Association were the key speakers at a MnWARN presentation hosted at Preston Public Utilities on April 18. Photo by Mitchell Walbridge

Nearly six years later, the vivid images of the devastating floods of 2007 are still fresh in the minds of many across southeastern Minnesota, especially those who lived in the community of Rushford at the time. Even though seventeen inches of rain falling within a 24-hour period is an extremely rare event, no one can guarantee that something similar will not happen again. And as there is always a possibility of such a tragic disaster, it is never a bad idea to prepare and have a plan in place to ease the effects when tragedies like the 2007 floods occur.

Minnesota Water/Wastewater Agency Response Network (MnWARN) region one coordinator Steve Bushman, along with region six coordinator Marty Glynn and Jeff Dale of the Minnesota Rural Water Association, delivered an informational presentation on the benefits of belonging to the state’s MnWARN program to more than thirty public works employees, emergency response team members, and city officials from the southeastern Minnesota area. MnWARN is a statewide ‘utilities helping utilities’ network that aids in man-made or natural disasters through mutual assistance of participating cities.

MnWARN began development back in 2007 after the flooding that had occurred in Rushford. The basis of the program is through a mutual aid agreement that is valid through the Minnesota League of Cities. Participation in the program is voluntary, but is strongly encouraged. As a result of being supported by volunteers from across the state, there is no cost to join.

In the event that an emergency situation were to arise, MnWARN provides cities with access to specialized utility resources and personnel to help speed up recovery times. The program operates through the organization’s website, www.mnwarn.org, by allowing designated city representatives to maintain an equipment inventory page, browse and search through other cities’ inventories, or even request or offer assistance.

In addition to the informational presentation, a training session for city emergency management units took place. The training session was focused on how the disaster response process is carried out, including the timeline from the initial call for assistance to a Minnesota Duty Officer, the declaration of a MnWARN Event (emergency), equipment delivery, and maintaining records for the cost of equipment rental. Because such thorough documentation of loaned rental equipment costs and time has always been recorded, no discrepancies have developed between MnWARN communities.

The presenters stress that joining MnWARN before a disaster strikes is imperative. Currently, towns in and around Fillmore County that utilize the MnWARN program include Canton, Chatfield, Grand Meadow, Harmony, Houston, Mabel, Preston, Rushford, Rushford Village, and Spring Grove. As many local communities have already joined, it is Bushman’s hope to get all communities to utilize the MnWARN program. “It’s a matter of being prepared before a situation that requires an emergency response arises,” he stated.

Community officials or public utilities employees who wish to learn more or become a MnWARN member can obtain information or even access registration and mutual aid forms from MnWARN’s website, www.mnwarn.org.

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2059

9:13:07, Apr 30th 2013

jurban says:
i will be the first to say that when there is a emergency mnwarn will be helpful to all who need it. i was one of the first callers for a mnwarn and the residents were very happy to get the help. since there is no fee for being in it and you need nothing to participate except to sign up. .i still go back and look at the mess i had in fall of 2010 before and how quick it was cleaned up by mnwarn helpers including st peter rural water and many other towns that help me.