As communities along the Mississippi River system continue to be impacted by record high waters, Coast Guard men and women are deployed in support of Federal, state and local agencies throughout the Midwest while the South remains on alert as rising waters threaten major flooding in the days ahead.
Coast Guard disaster area response teams – or DARTs – have rescued a total of 28 people and assisted four others in evacuating flood zones since the Mississippi River response began.
In one instance, Livingston County Emergency Management and Coast Guard crews worked to rescue three people who were trapped in their home by rising waters. A Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter and a shallow water rescue boat from Marine Safety Detachment Nashville’s disaster area response team were dispatched. The three were evacuated by rescue boat from the porch of their house, which had water at the doorsteps.
Nashville’s disaster area response team is just one of six DARTs deployed or on standby to lend support in the region with the special capability of conducting operations in shallow water and urban environments. The other DARTs include: Marine Safety Unit Paducah staged in Golconda, Ill.; MSD Cincinnati and MSD Nashville standing by in Paducah; Sector Upper Mississippi River staged in New Madrid, Mo., and Dexter, Mo.; and Sector Ohio Valley staged in Fulton and Obion Counties, Ky.
Earlier this week, the Coast Guard stood up a Maritime Transportation System Recovery Unit in response to rising water levels on the inland river system that have impacted commercial traffic.
The MTSRU, comprised of experts in maritime mobility, incident response and port operations, works with stakeholders to restore the commercial capacity of a waterway following a natural or manmade disruption. The MTSRU will work to support recovery efforts and ensure recovery is a critical element of planning at all levels. MTSRU members also identify communication mechanisms and informational requirements to facilitate the recovery of waterway traffic flow.
As flooding remains a threat to the region, the Coast Guard continues to work closely with the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as local and state partners, to ensure the safety of lives and property.
The Coast Guard has established multiple safety zones and implemented vessel restrictions in several locations as a result of high water throughout the inland river system.
For the latest on flood response operations visit the Floodfight 2011- Operation Watershed Facebook page.