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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

North Dakota Flooding Disaster: March 2009

Hospital Preparedness Program

The North Dakota (ND) Department of Health (DoH) Department Operations Center (DOC) was activated March 23, 2009 and used throughout the response to the Red River floods in North Dakota and neighboring regions. The DOC was utilized for coordination and situational debriefing of staff.

In preparation for the flood, the ND DoH reviewed evacuation plans, gathered bed census data, conducted an inventory of supplies, pre-deployed a communications trailer, and notified volunteers. All of these systems and supplies were made possible through the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) funding.

When ND officials activated the DOC, bed census data was collected from ND, Minnesota (MN) and South Dakota (SD). There were daily videoconference or teleconference briefings with hospitals, public health, and long term care facilities. HPP funding supported the development of the communication system for ND as well as the bed tracking systems for the other states.

By March 26, the Red River rose at a rapid rate with new crest predictions of up to 43 feet. Long term care residents in assisted and independent living facilities as well as individuals with developmental disabilities in intermediate care facilities were priorities for evacuation. Four ND hospitals were also evacuated: the Psychiatric Hospital, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital, the MeritCare Hospital and Triumph Hospital.

  • Planning, training, and exercises funded by HPP facilitated smooth operations during the evacuations. Utilization of the HPP funded Incident Command Structure (ICS) and National Incident Management System (NIMS) systems resulted in a successful, rapid evacuation.
  • An Alternate Care Site (ACS) was set up in a shuttered hospital. The HPP funded Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) staffed the ACS.
  • A HPP-funded Mobile Medical Unit was deployed to provide emergency care to responders and residents in the event bridges were closed.
  • The HPP funded ND Wide Area Network provided daily health and medical briefing.

  • This page last reviewed: November 20, 2013