Operations

Cedar Rapids Fleet Tested by Flood of 2008

November 2008, Government Fleet - WebXclusive

by Chad Simon

Cedar Rapids City Hall faces rising waters during the Flood of 2008 in June.

Sometimes it takes a major disaster to successfully bring people together to work as a team, but how they will respond is an unknown until they are actually tested. Last summer, the City of Cedar Rapids’ fleet staff passed the test.

Reminiscent of the scene post-Hurricane Katrina, the Cedar Rapids Flood of 2008 devastated the town of 125,000 June 13 when the Cedar River overflowed its banks before receding about a week later. Total damages were estimated at more than $500 million, according to Dennis Hogan, fleet services manager, City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who oversaw a 900-vehicle fleet pre-flood. The fleet alone lost 91 units, including trucks, cars, and trailers; all but one fuel island; and four of the City’s five garages. In addition, 5,390 homes were evacuated and 10 square miles — 14 percent of the city — were buried under water. Fortunately, no casualties were reported.

Dennis Hogan, CIty of Cedar Rapids fleet services manager, credits his team with doing a "fantastic job" responding to the disasterous flood, working as a team to re-establish fleet services for vital City functions.

The City’s fleet staff (42 total) proactively evacuated critical equipment the day before the flood actually hit and temporarily set up operations in a tent erected at the Veteran’s Memorial Stadium parking lot. Eventually, fleet moved its operations into an office trailer located at the central fire station’s storage facility, which previously was flooded with 12 feet of water.

The Cedar River overlowed its banks, flooding 10 square miles of Cedar Rapids.

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