ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- As area rivers rise above flood stage, the Army Corps of Engineers at the Rock Island Arsenal are stocking up up on sandbags and other materials.
The Emergency Operations Center at the Rock Island District activated Wednesday, March 13 at noon. Meanwhile, crews are staging materials at the National Flood Fight Material Center, the only one like it in the country.
"Usually we have boxes pretty much stacked to the ceiling," said Emergency Management Chief Rodney Delp. "This district here of Rock Island is actually the reach back organization to support the whole United States," he said.
Delp was there when the Army Corps of Engineers responded to the 2005 floods caused by Hurricane Katrina and other national disasters. He said the materials center can deploy materials to anywhere in the country within 48 hours.
The federal agency also oversees the Emergency Operations Center staff on the Arsenal.
"Today it starts with a handful, tomorrow it will go to dozens," said Delp. "It's all scalable depending on where we're at with the river," he said.
More personnel and more flood fight shipments are on the way to the Rock Island Arsenal this week as the National Weather Service predicts potentially record-breaking floods this spring.
Local municipalities are primarily in charge of their own flood emergency response, but Delp said the federal agency would be there to help wherever public works crews find themselves getting overwhelmed.
"The lower Mississippi is currently flooding, so we have 30-40 flood pumps already on the lower Mississippi that are being used right now," Delp said.