Debris survey after the storm
Spc. Allen Braun and Pfc. Blake Lukach, North Dakota National Guard, conduct debris survey north of Mandan, N.D., following the storm that damaged 12,000 electric poles.

BISMARCK, N.D. (April 22, 2010) -- Twenty-eight Guard members are currently on state active duty to aid local power companies in the clean-up process after a late season snow and ice storm, April 2, toppled about 12,000 power poles and left many areas in central North Dakota without power.

North Dakota National Guard troops -- in partnership with the Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative, the Department of Health and the Department of Emergency Services Incident Management Assistance Team -- are currently planning the debris removal process.

As part of the plan and removal process, the crew will be looking into how to dispose of the broken lines. There were an estimated 1,500 tons of poles and 160 tons of conductor to be properly managed, enough to fill a number of landfills. Utilities and state officials are examining recycling options.

The North Dakota National Guard is currently helping locate and document the damaged poles. Working together with Mary Senger, Burleigh County Emergency Manager, they came up with an assessment procedure.

"We're sending out seven teams, three people to a team, to survey the damage and record the positions of the poles using GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to mark where every single pole is," explained Spc. Allen J. Braun, Fargo, 957th Multi-Role Bridge Company, part of the assessment team.

The teams are armed with clipboards, GPS and small digital cameras to document the location and condition of damaged poles. The information they gather will be mapped for the utility crews and contractors picking up the damaged poles and other debris.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on America, the North Dakota National Guard has mobilized more than 3,500 Soldiers and more than 1,800 Airmen in support of the Global War on Terrorism. Currently, about 800 North Dakota Guard members are serving overseas. With a total force of about 4,400 Soldiers and Airmen, sufficient forces remain in the state for emergency response and homeland defense, officials said.

(Sgt. Ann Knudson serves with the Joint Force Headquarters for the North Dakota National Guard.)

Page last updated Thu April 22nd, 2010 at 14:46