Oslo Becomes an Island, Again
By Tech. Sgt. Brett Ewald, Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
/ Published April 18, 2011
OSLO, Minn. -- The city of Oslo, Minn., for the third consecutive year, was cut off from mainland Minnesota and essentially transformed into a temporary island due to spring-time flooding in the Red River Valley. This was the reason a national ABC news crew filmed Good Morning America live and on location near Oslo. In the morning sunrise of April 14, 2011, Barbara Pinto, an ABC news correspondent, spoke of the conditions in the area and how flood waters overtook Minnesota Highway 1. Highway 1 is the main entrance into Oslo from the east. This year the highway was flooded for nearly three miles east of the city.
Oslo civil authorities and the Minnesota National Guard conducted an evacuation exercise throughout the city. The exercise helped Oslo residents, civil authorities and soldiers better understand their roles in the event a real-world evacuation is ordered.
Residents volunteering to participate in the evacuation exercise were instructed to display a red piece of fabric at a designated place near their residence. This is done to symbolize their need for evacuation by Soldiers and civilian firefighters. The residents were rapidly located, assisted onto military and civil authority vehicles and ultimately delivered to the collection point. In the instance of a real evacuation the residents of Oslo would have been transferred to shore, but for the scope of the evacuation they were only brought to the collection point.
Participants gathered to discuss the details, efficiency and outcome of the exercise after its completion. Many people, including residents who participated in being evacuated, took away a good sense of the speed and order of what could potentially occur during a real-life evacuation in Oslo, Minn.