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When natural disasters hit local communities, the National Guard is often called out to help assist in the recovery efforts. These disasters can be environmental nightmares of devastated houses, overturned cars, compromised gas pumps and much more. The military's involvement can include helping law enforcement maintain law and order, ending immediate threats to health and safety, even filling sandbags.
Disasters often bring out military Civil Engineer crews to help clean up the aftermath. This means clearing city streets of debris such as broken glass, fallen trees and rubble, but also making sure people have safe water to drink and a place to go while they wait for the all-clear to sound so they can return home. When the 500-year flood hit Grand Forks, North Dakota back in the late nineties, the local Air Force Base not only set up emergency relief operations, but also permitted "non-essential" personnel to assist with local relief efforts.
Together, the military and the community got through one of the worst disasters in that town's long history. When it came time to clean up the environment around Grand Forks, the Air Force had crews ready to pitch in and start the long task of clearing streets and making the town safe again.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|