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City of Lincoln
Fire & Rescue Department
Nebraska Task Force 1 (NETF1)

Boulder, CO Flooding
September 13-20, 2013

 

Reports from the Field
(Most recent on top)
09/18/13 - 3:35 p.m.
From Pat Borer
Tuesday's missions were all a success. The Squad's that went to Jamestown were able to complete their missions and bring relief and closure to a community. Another squad worked in moving water and captured national attention and was used for live feeds to CNN, FOX, CBS, ABC and Allgezerah News. Several members were carrying microphones during operations and were showing the live feed on the news. The abilities of the water rescue personnel captured many kudos from the FEMA Program Office as well as the incident support team (IST) staff. A reconnaissance mission was performed in and for the community of Evans, CO. The mission was to clear a residential area of over 200 homes and verify there were no stranded individuals; all homes were marked with GPS coordinates. The teams returned in great spirits, tired but willing to anything that was asked of them. The flexibility and dynamic response of NETF has garnered compliments from the IST. The IST daily experiences the professional capability and desire of the personnel from NETF1 to modify and adjust team size and strength for a mission at a momentís notice.

This morning, Wednesday, September 18, 2013, two squads were headed to join two squads from COTF-1 for a mission in Evans, CO to mark with GPS coordinates and search and clear the residential neighborhoods and developments. CNN reporters are imbedded with NETF1 personnel on this mission for a TV special to be aired at a later date. .

NOTE: NETF in the News

CNN Special; Erin Burnett Out Front 7-8pm Wed or Thursday night, Eastern Time (they were imbedded with NETF1)
Weather Channel: Thursday 8:00/9:00 and 11:00 a 1 hr special on UTAH and NETF
All major networks and media outlets websites etc

09/18/13 - 06:40 a.m.
From Pat Borer
Monday evening the team returned from all assigned missions and was able to document 347 residences searched, 227 of these had no persons at home, we evacuated 10 persons and assisted with locating or verifying missing persons. The team verified 182 persons were sheltering in place. The team hiked well over 50 miles and returned to base camp tired but in great spirits with no injuries or concern other than some blisters and sore legs!!

Tuesday morning three squads were en route to their assigned theater of operations. Two are headed to Jamestown to work with excavating equipment in removing a structure; another part of the team is scheduled to document all residences and residents that are either missing, left or sheltering in place. A third part of the team is headed to verify no individuals are in homes that have been swept into a creek. This team consists of personnel trained to work in water supplemented with a K-9 handler and canine; along with shore support personnel. The remaining personnel are on alert/standby to be utilized at the discretion of the FEMA Operations Section Chief in under a 30 min notice.

A lot of our mission, in addition to our assigned tasks, consists of extensive GPS tracking and marking. NETF1 and UTAH 1 are GPS locating every house in our assigned division and collecting all the contact information for any residents we encounter. This information is then sent to the Operation Section Chief and to the Incident Commanders of both the IMT and IST so that they can begin to formulate a systematic approach to verify all persons have either been evacuated, sheltered or are still missing. This ultimately results in verification that all structures have had human contact and have been mark for accountability reasons.

The team is in great spirits in anticipation of helping the local citizenry. Temperatures range from the mid 70's during the day to 40's at night. The rain has subsided for now and air operations for evacuations are taking place as needed.

09/16/13 - 10:36 p.m.
From Pat Borer
NETF1 was divided into small groups for work in various areas around Boulder on Monday morning. Similar work was completed Sunday night but new intelligence required the plan to be changed. Operational flexibility is the name of the game as the situation continues to change on a regular basis. All task force members were assigned and working in the theatre of operations by 10:00hrs MST this morning. Part of the team was working in Lefthand Canyon in a combined effort with Utah Task Force 1. A third unit was configured and operated in Lefthand Canyon North, with a fourth unit scheduled to work in the Riverside/Raymond area. All units were transported on various vehicles and when necessary planned to be on foot or the gators for extensive searching. The teams continue to assist with evacuating persons to the extraction points, intelligence gathering is completed via GPS and humanitarian aid is provided. This operation was planned for the entire day. There are other assignments waiting if the work is finished early. Rain/drizzle continued throughout the night Sunday night and Monday morning but clouds have subsided and helo operations are underway for evacuees.
09/15/13 - 10:38 p.m.
From Pat Borer
As of 6:15pm MST, NETF1 was all accounted for at the BoO after a day of work within the flooded areas. This morning the IMT and local authorities requested a 19 member force was configured to deploy on 3 military high-water vehicles. The team was deployed to Jamestown, CO at an elevation of approx 8900 ft. The trip was in uncovered vehicles for 2 hours up and 2 hrs back, not counting time on the ground working. The team's work was cut short due to swelling rivers and roads collapsing, so the decision was made by the IST to stop the mission and return to the BoO. Rain has hampered all air operations at this time as an additional 2 inched of rain fell at the BoO today. The remaining members remained configured for additional missions and/or deployment via airframe if the rain subsided or ceiling lifted, the team rotated being on alert in 2hrs shifts. Moral continues to be high, a forestry service food truck is on site for hot meals as is portable forestry shower facilities so that for the first time since we left, the team has showered.

A gross decon area and a warming tent was set up for the returning members. Medical remains tasked with observing and accessing members for altitude sickness as we all are acclimating and the team reports no injuries or illnesses at this time.

A briefing is planned each night at 9:00 CST for the next day's activities. The team is continually asked to remain dynamic as we may be tasked with a multitude of missions, so flexibility is the key. A small squad has been requested for a mission tomorrow as larger excavation assets become available.

09/15/13 - 10:29 p.m.
From Pat Borer
I talked with Chief Thavenet this morning. He said their base camp continues to grow. Support equipment for the IST arrived yesterday. NETF1 and UTTF1 are collocated with the IST and the local IMT. The IST has requested a kitchen from the forestry service, along with showers and a laundry. The team conducted training and attended briefings throughout the day yesterday. Two more FEMA teams were activated today. It appears they are setting the stage for a long deployment.

Today, Sunday, NETF1 split into two teams. One team traveled by military water capable vehicles to an area near Jamestown, CO, a couple of hours from the base. The chinooks and other helicopters were grounded due to the heavy rain they were receiving. The forecast was calling for 2 to 4 inches of rain today.

The received reports of people missing and one man trapped in a collapsed home. The other half of NETF1 had not yet received an assignment at the time of the phone call.

The team is in good spirits, there are no injuries to report, and they are looking forward to helping wherever they can. Keep the citizens of Colorado and the FEMA responders in your prayers.

09/14/13 - 12:26 p.m.
From Pat Borer
Saturday, Sept. 14 NETF1 attended a joint training session (in shifts) with Utah-1 in helicopter awareness. This class was instructed by Todd Reed (a crew chief retired) and Mr. Bishop (apache helicopter pilot) (one from each task force). The team prepared very dynamic deployment models. After a morning briefing with the IMT and the IST, both task forces were instructed to prepare for air operations with personnel being mobilized via helicopter to various areas for search, evacuation and humanitarian aid. Currently, USAR teams are the only rescuer operations working with military aircraft. The team prepared gear, modified team size for air ops, and multiple safety briefings. The teams will have a 10 minute window to mobilize and be on the flight line for deployment. All task force members seem to be in great spirits and well rested after a long day of travel. The anticipation of possibly being airlifted has added to the morale. More on the air deployment to come after the 1200hrs MST briefing between the IMT and IST after flyovers this morning. Reconnaissance indicated the effected area is over a 760 sq mi area and there may be areas that have not been evaluated.

Both task forces have BoO's set up, are commingling, and working very fluidly to accomplish the mission. Both teams are occupying the same "base camp' for supplies, food etc. The size and magnitude of the damage may result in a lengthy deployment.

09/14/13 - 09:32 a.m.
From Pat Borer
By 900 pm, NETF1 had established a BoO and was able to get a warm meal from the IMT chow hall. The team slept in cots and sleeping bags and had small group discussions on altering their deployment model within their discipline. Morning command staff briefing occurred at 0700hrs, with a hearty breakfast of MRE's. Saturdays mission is yet to be defined but we were told to be dynamic and flexible with our deployment model as it still will likely be aircraft for evacuation and humanitarian aid purposes. The team reports no injuries and spirits are high at the thought of air deployment into the field. An "in time class" will be held for the entire task force if air operations are approved.
09/13/13 - 04:31 p.m.
From Pat Borer
The IST directed NETF1 to move forward at 15:45 CST and tasked them with setting up the BoO at the Boulder Municipal Airport.

Utah task force will set up their BoO in the same vicinity.

The current assignment for NETF1 is twofold: 1) Establish a BoO and 2) assist with air operations.

NETF1 will provide humanitarian aid as well as search and rescue in areas that are cut off due to flooding and washed out roads.

The incident is a very dynamic event and the task at hand is subject to change at a momentís notice.

09/13/13 - 03:18 p.m.
From Pat Borer
The advance team arrived at the Boulder Municipal Airport, 2:15 CST and has made contact via phone with the White IST.

The IST is conducting air operations to evaluate the situation and form a tactical plan and possibly provide a mission for NETF1. The team and convoy will be stopped at I-76 and CO-Hwy 52 and staged there until they receive an assignment or further direction from the IST.

09/13/13 - 12:29 p.m.
From Pat Borer
The advance team passed Sterling, CO at 11:35 this morning and was driving in a considerable amount of rain and wind. The team has communicated with the National Response Coordinating Center (NRCC) on a regular basis. The advance team estimated arrival time at the Boulder Municipal Airport of 1345hrs CST. The full task force is approx 100 miles behind the advance team and planning on fueling and a sandwich stop in Ogalalla, NE.

Fire & Rescue Department

NETF1