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On Oct. 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy – a Category 1 storm – slammed into the New Jersey shore and made landfall. Winds ranged from 70 to 90 mph for many areas.
The storm surge coincided with a high tide and a full moon and caused flooding across several states. Thousands of residents in many states who decidewd to stay in their homes near the Atlantic Ocean and other waterways needed to be rescued after the storm surge became historic.
Numerous fire apparatus, equipment and stations were damaged or destroyed. Electricity was knocked out for more people than from previous storms. Crews from power companies across the country were dispatched to the East Coast before the storm hit. Some customers were still without electricity 17 days after the hurricane. Bridges and tunnels in the New York metropolitan area were closed and many tunnels were flooded. Damage to infrastructure and flooding to buildings was substantial.
The damage caused by Hurricane Sandy is estimated to cost much more than Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans, LA, in 2005. Additional coverage will be published in upcoming issues.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) has released a report examining the characteristics of portable heater fires in residential buildings. Portable Heater Fires in Residential Buildings (2008-2010) reports:
• An estimated 900 portable heater fires in residential buildings are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 70 deaths, 150 injuries and $53 million in property loss
• 52% of portable heater fires in residential buildings occurred because the heat source was too close to combustibles
Visit www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v13i9.pdf to download the complete report.