Is Williston Prepared For a Natural Disaster? | VideoEvan Kruegel | 11/2/2012
"It`s like we see happening on the east coast right now. You make plans but you cant plan for all the contingencies: you don`t know how cold its going to be, you don`t know how long we`re going to be without power, you have a lot of unknowns and you just have to work through that, do the best you can, and just protect people.”
North Dakota`s geographic location means certain disasters are highly unlikely, but there are some realistic possibilities that could shut down a city.
"We`re a little different, we don`t have hurricanes, we don`t normally have earthquakes, but we do have blizzards, so that is our big issue."
City officials are used to having to deal with snow. But if that snow caused a major blackout, there could be some problems.
"The biggest concern we have in terms of an emergency here, would be a major power outage in the middle of the winter when the temperature is real cold. In the summertime you can be without power for a couple days and survive, but in the winter it would cause major, major problems,” said Koeser.
Those problems would only be magnified by the temporary housing used by many of the workers in the area. But while a man camp might seem like a dicey place to be during a power outage, emergency services director Mike Hallesy says the man camps would be just fine. They have kitchens stocked with food, and plenty of emergency generators.
"Those particular facilities are, in my opinion, the least of our concern, because they know how to house people. That`s their job, that`s their business."
The bigger issue would be the clusters of campers sitting unprotected outside of town.
"In your home you can maybe make it a couple of days before things freeze up. But in a camper, you`re looking at a matter of hours."
The city would try to set up shelters ahead of the storms arrival, urging people to leave their campers and come to safety. And while the city hopes to never deal with a Sandy-like situation, they feel it`s better to be safe than sorry.