Council Bluffs leaders have requested dozens of Iowa National Guard troops to patrol the city’s 28 miles of levees that line the flooding Missouri River. As part of their duties, Fire Chief Alan Byers says those soldiers will be inspecting the levees for leaks 24 hours a day for the next 30 days and they’ll provide security for the vital floodwalls.
“We are a pretty popular place for people to come and see the event,” Chief Byers says. “The more people that do that, the greater the risk that someone’s going to get hurt. If you try to get on the levee, we will ask you to leave.” About 60 soldiers will be patrolling the floodwall to take the burden off weary city workers.
“We have public works employees who’ve been working seven days a week, some working long hours and they can only do that so long and do it well,” Byers says. “The National Guard is a great tool for us.” He says the city’s implementing a new evacuation plan in case there is a breach in one of the Missouri River levees.
“We’re planning for a worst-case scenario, both in transportation out of it and evacuation route planning,” he says. “We have bus companies on standby. We have special needs transportation companies on standby.”
Council Bluffs is laying out a three-tiered evacuation plan. The most urgent level would involve the use of civil defense sirens and the Code Red telephone notification system.