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Insight from WFPD: Evacuation procedure follows specific guidelines

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opinion Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

If an evacuation becomes necessary because of the threat of flooding, the City of West Fargo will issue one of the following evacuation notices:

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1. Immediate Evacuation Alert: It is necessary for residents to evacuate immediately as there is an imminent threat of flooding or other emergency condition. This will be issued for immediate threats with an expected time frame of zero to six hours. Notifications will be through all available means, warning sirens, door-to-door notification, Code Red and media outlets. (An Immediate Evacuation Alert could be specific to a target population or location.)

2. Evacuation Advisory: Residents are encouraged to evacuate as there is a significant potential threat of flooding or other emergency condition. This will be issued when the expected time frame for the threat is six to 48 hours. Notification will be through Code Red and media outlets. (An evacuation advisory could be specific to a target population or location.)

Evacuation Guidelines include:

*Securing your home; closing and locking doors and windows; plugging drains; and turning off water at the water meter.

*Do not turn off electricity; make sure freezers, refrigerators and sump pumps are plugged in; do not turn off natural gas, it is important that your home stays warm and does not freeze.

*Leave a note on your front door with contact information (such as a cell phone number). The City of West Fargo does not have a database to track homes that have been vacated, so do not call the city.

Regarding pet safety, do not leave pets at home when you evacuate; and if you evacuate to a shelter, make plans for your pet, not all shelters take pets.

Also make sure your neighbors are aware of the alert

Evacuated areas will be secured by police or National Guard, and access to vacated areas will be controlled to ensure that unauthorized individuals will not be permitted in the area.

Listen to local officials:

Listen to media outlets for information from local officials. If the imminent threat that caused the evacuation can be stabilized so your neighborhood remains protected, you may be permitted to return to your home.

Vulnerable populations including the elderly, disabled, small children and those unable to self evacuate, may not be permitted to return to an area that still has a potential threat (such as neighborhoods behind contingency levees or other ongoing emergency or recovery operations).

When you do return to your home, be prepared to provide documentation showing that you do reside in the previously evacuated area. If you cannot demonstrate that you reside in a previously evacuated area, you will not be allowed to enter. Documentation may include a driver's license or utility bill.

Vulnerable Population Registry:

Planning for the needs of vulnerable populations during a disaster is a key component of public health emergency preparedness planning. At risk or vulnerable populations are often those who live independently or with the help of a caregiver and yet may need additional assistance in the event of a disaster, especially in the area of transportation. These populations include, but are not limited to, those who are disabled, frail or have significant health issues.  

Fargo Cass Public Health has created a pre-registration system for all of Cass County to help identify where those individuals who are most vulnerable can be located, and if necessary, assist them in relocation to a safe place until they can return home.  

Registering into this system should not be considered a guarantee that you will be placed on a priority list for emergency responders; however, it will make us aware of your individual situation and help us to be better prepared to assist you.

If you may need assistance during a disaster, register today by calling 701-241-1360 Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

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