Three firefighters and a deputy chief from the Dickinson Fire Department have joined an outfit from the Williston Fire Department and Williston Rural Fire Department and are off to Baton Rouge, La., to help Gulf residents recover from the devastation of Hurricane Ida.
The Dickinson Fire Department team includes Deputy Fire Chief Mark Selle, senior firefighter Alaynea Decker, firefighters Hunter Flynn and Mason Geiger, and they departed at 8 a.m. Saturday from the City of Dickinson Public Safety Center on State Avenue. On late Sunday evening, the team arrived at the staging area where they will receive further instruction. The Dickinson and Williston teams will assist supplement staffing for fire departments in the affected Baton Rouge area.
As part of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, this group is responding to the call for mutual aid that was issued for 225 firefighters from all across the United States. Over the course of the coming days, approximately 1,500 firefighters will respond to the Baton Rouge area.
"We are honored to be able to help support the recovery efforts in Louisiana," Dickinson Fire Chief Jeremy Presnell said. "We are also grateful for the collaboration with the Williston Fire Department and the Williston Rural Fire Department with this effort. Our firefighters, without hesitation, answered the call and we are extremely proud of them."
On Wednesday, Sept. 1, six firefighters from the Bismarck Rural and Williston fire departments gathered in Bismarck to receive instructions before heading to the storm-ravaged area.
In Louisiana, the North Dakota firefighters will use their 2,500-gallon and 3,000-gallon water tenders to aid Baton Rouge fire officials suppress structure fires. Throughout history, North Dakota has provided emergency support to other states when natural disasters have occurred such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the 2011 Mississippi River floods, Hurricane Maria in 2017 in Puerto Rico, in Hawaii with the 2018 volcanic eruption and the Oregon 2020 wildfires.
The group of North Dakota firefighters is expected to return in late September.