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IMAT Team responds to McCook Lake

todayJune 24, 2024 3

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NORTH SIOUX CITY (KELO) — When a natural disaster strikes, like what they are experiencing right now in Union County, the state activates what’s called the IMAT Team.

It’s an acronym that stands for ‘Incident Management Assistance Team.’

Monday, KELOLAND News got to go behind the scenes to see how the IMAT team is helping people in McCook Lake.

Homes destroyed on McCook Lake

When something like this happens, it can create a flood of problems for first responders.

That’s when the IMAT Team comes in.

“It is not our role to take over for anybody, it’s our role to come in and help and do those things that they need help with,” South Dakota IMAT Team manager Allan Miller said.

“For instance, we knew we were going to have evacuations, so it would be looking at do we have a shelter where we can send people to and what are we going to need at that shelter if we have to send people,” Sandy Frentsz with IMAT Team said.

The IMAT Team is made up of a number of people from various backgrounds; including law enforcement, fire fighters, and emergency managers from across the state.

“When those disasters happen it can be very overwhelming and what we try to do is support those local emergency managers and local first responders to help bring some of that calmness, some of that organization to the chaos,” Miller said.

The IMAT team navigates all the logistics, like monitoring critical infrastructure and providing timely and accurate information to the public and media.

It’s a behind-the-scenes effort the public never gets to see, but homeowners are grateful for the response.

“The emergency people have been great, the sheriff’s department has been great, the police department has been great controlling the traffic; we got a lot of onlookers from Sioux City coming over and I’m just asking for them to stay out because a lot of these people need their privacy they are going through a lot of heartache right now,” Barajs said.

Emergency personnel say they haven’t had a chance to count exactly how many homes have been destroyed by the flood waters.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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