Reference: Preparations for Hurricane Matthew
With the pending encroachment of Hurricane Matthew, Emergency Service Organizations in North Carolina will likely see some impact from the hurricane and/or storms spun off by Matthew. For many organizations this will be the first time you have encountered a storm of this magnitude. There are preparations that you should be taking immediately to protect your facilities and equipment so that you will be able to provide emergency services to your community from damages resulting from this storm. Some of the precautions you should be taking are but not limited to the following:
Building Protection: Take precautions to protect your facility from both wind and flooding. Many areas that do not typically flood may be subject to flooding during tropical storm events.
· Protect wall openings, secure doors and windows to protect them from wind damage and from windblown projectiles.
· Secure exterior fixtures outside of the main structure to prevent them from damage and from becoming projectiles.
· Shut off gas lines to appliances at both the appliance and at the meter.
· Shut down electrical service to the building. This will reduce the chance of electrical fires and the risk of electrical shock when re-entering the building after the weather event.
· Items Subject to flood damage such as vital records & electronic equipment should be moved to a non-threatened structure or raised above the anticipated flood level.
Apparatus relocation to higher ground should be considered where facilities are going to be subject to tidal surge and/or non-coastal flooding.
When apparatus is exposed to salt water immediate action should be taken to help mitigate vehicle damage due to salt water exposure. Procedures should include rinsing the body, undercarriage and storage compartments with fresh water and open any doors of interior spaces to allow complete drying. If the vehicle's transmission or engine has been submerged or excessively exposed to salt water, CONTACT YOUR VFIS OF NORTH CAROLINA AGENT for advice and consent on how to proceed with this situation.
Maximum wind speed response restrictions should be set to determine a maximum wind speed at which you will cease responding to emergency calls. Personnel and apparatus safety should be primary considerations. Wind speeds of low as 34 knots (40 mph) on the Beaufort Wind Strength Scale impedes pedestrian progress. It is important to recognize that placing your personnel and equipment in harm’s way may result in damage and/or injury.
After this event Emergency Service organization should review the steps that they took and the damage that they may have sustained into consideration and consider developing a plan to address future events.