Volunteers part of VOAD help prepare for spring flooding
Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, or VOAD, was started in 2009 to help those who had been impacted by the floods
FARGO, N.D. — After a historically wet fall across the Red River Valley, county and city officials from across the metro say it’s vital that the government works with community members to prepare for potential flooding.
That’s where the Cass Clay VOAD comes in.
“VOAD is actually a group of organizations that come together and work on preparedness, recovery in response to disasters. That could be organizations that would be able to have the capacity to offer shelter, food and other important resources during and after a disaster,” says Kathryn Fink with the organization.
VOAD gives local organizations a chance to give back to their community in a time of need — something government officials say people along the Red River are known for.
“We’re a metro area. We have people that live in West Fargo who work in Fargo and vice versa, so when we look at the greater part of our preparedness and our response is that we’re sort of a team all together,” says West Fargo Emergency Manager Pierre Freeman.
He says it’s better to be able to plan and do things the right way now than try to play catch-up later.
“Government can only do so much, and the cities can only do so much as far as what our resources are. VOADS, COADS, all of these volunteer organizations for food, shelter and all the other things that they provide during disasters, after disasters, cleanups and so forth.”
But volunteers are needed before the disaster hits just as much as they are needed after.
“As far as the numbers, when we talk more sandbags, that means more volunteers, more people filling them, more expense, more time away from regular duties. It takes more time to place those sandbags, so it’s a substantial effort,” says Fargo Emergency Manager Leon Schlafmann.
That effort, he says, means every single person chipping in.
“We protect the city of Fargo, as residents and concerned citizens for the city of Fargo, we need a joint effort. We need everybody to step up, to do their part. We don’t do this because we enjoy doing this. We do this because we have to do this.”
To join VOAD, contact the organization via Facebook or email at CassClayVOAD@gmail.com.