1. #1
    Truckie from Missouri
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question A Weather Related Scenario

    It has been warming up for a few days now. A steady wind out of the south brings in lots of warm air and moisture. Then, after day four of this warming trend, a strong cold front approaches, and severe thunderstorms develop.

    It is now approaching 1830 hrs, and the storms are REALLY strong. Strong winds are knocking trees down on top of wires, hail as large as softballs is falling, the rains are really intense, in fact, the rains have dumped 2 inches in the last half hour. Murphy is working today, as tornadoes are spawned, and your town is hit.

    You are in charge of the towns fire, rescue, & ems crews. What now Chief?

    Play hard and stay safe!

    ********

    This scenario was brought to you with the intent on making a no win situation; just come up with what would work best for YOUR response area. And no, you can't use the cop out that tornadoes never happen here. They CAN and sometimes DO happen anywhere and everywhere. No animals were harmed during the typing of this scenario. Only 100% recycled electrons were used for the production of this scenario. Union made in USA.

    Ken
    Local 3133

  2. #2
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    ooops

    [This message has been edited by S. Cook (edited February 22, 2000).]

  3. #3
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    dang

    [This message has been edited by S. Cook (edited February 22, 2000).]

  4. #4
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Finally...

    Stay in the house until the storm passes unless it's a life or death situation. You can also use the TIC to watch the weather/clouds at night.

    We assign crews for the aftermath welfare checks, hitting the older section of town first.

    Then the radio crackles and someone asks -

    "E4 is so and so with you?"

    "10-4"

    "Please advise him his neighbors called and his skylight in his house has broken out."

    He's in the back of the rig and as you turn to tell him he says "I ain't got no skylight."

    This happened to us last summer and our new rig was struck by another vehicle in the aftermath http://www.gvfd.org/archives/e3accident.htm .

    Wasn't too bad fortunately and the tornados never touched down.

    [This message has been edited by S. Cook (edited February 22, 2000).]

  5. #5
    Truckie from Missouri
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    Thank God for small favors, huh Scott?

    I never thought of using the TIC to watch the storm, but that sounds cool! We just got one in our station and next storm that comes along I'll give it a try!

    Ken
    Local 3133

    [This message has been edited by Truckie from Missouri (edited February 22, 2000).]

  6. #6
    Dalmation90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Nah, Tornadoes never hit New England...

    The Flint Tornado and Worcester Tornado - June 8-9, 1953
    The last single tornado to kill over 100 people struck the north side of Flint, Michigan. 115 were killed and 844 injured. This weather system would continue eastward spawning another tornado that would become the deadliest New England twister on record. It smashed through eastern Massachusetts, killing 94 people, 60 in Worcester alone. Over 4000 buildings were damaged or destroyed.

    So I guess I can't cop out and say our tornados are only overgrown dust devils (although usually that's what they are...)

    98.5% of our town would be lot's of trees down, the house here and there.

    Worst case is a hit direct on the center of our district by a very strong storm (I believe Worcester was considered a strong F4 at times, if I recall). Hmmmm, let's see, 600 inmate correctional center; 175 beds in two nursing homes; 50 residents of assisted living center; about 100 single/dual family residence within the same 1/2 mile radius. And our main station.

    With a lot of luck, our station was on the northern edge and survived. But that gives the storm the track to still hit all the institutions which are lined up like dominoes...oh yeah, continuing the same path, it probably crosses the Town's school complex, crosses the river and takes out a sewage treatment plant and shopping center before finally finding nothing but lightly populated woods until it hits the Scituate resevoir in Rhode Island and dies...Why, oh why did you have to make me think about this?

    First action? I'm headed out of town. No, I'm not kidding.

    If I can quickly get south of the path, I'm headed to a neighboring fire station about 4 miles from our main station. This is gonna be a huge deal, and the last place I want to try to lead this from is the eye of the storm. Given the size and trees down, etc, I can't even go for a recon before retreating. Have that station (96) toned out, dedicate their people to just command post & staging help

    Second, have QV tone out all departments to standby in their stations, and have them notify the other two big regional dispatches to do the same. That will get 35 Towns started at least to their quarters. Have Norwich notify the southern part of New London, giving us another 12 towns. And believe or not, although it will be incredibly overloaded, all 47 towns are capable of operating on a common frequency (33.90)

    Direct the ring of fire departments directly around Brooklyn to start towards town. Have them setup their Fire Police on every road at the Town Line -- if you don't have a driver's license for town, you're not to get through. My officers are tasked with performing an initial survey of the district, then assigning incoming Chiefs with specific geographical sectors to be in charge of.

    Try and establish communications with Danielson (the town that had the sewer plant hit) to setup some kind of a unified command.

    Ask that the regional dispatches establish who will remain in quarters for coverage, and remaining resources be directed to the ring of fire stations around Brooklyn as their initial staging locations (Stations 12, 70, 93, 96) I'm figuring Danielson (Station 61) is already busy, and units from Northeast QV/Massachussetts/Rhode Island will be headed their way.

    As the nearby fire departments identify what they have found in their sectors, report to an operations command at our main station. Ops reports what and where they want for resources to the Command Post at station 96.

    As resources arrive at the four staging locations, those staging officers report it to the Command Post. The CP then issues directions of where what resources are to respond, and who they'll work with.

    And at this point, all I still know is a) I have a lot of damage b) I have a lot of resources started c) I've divided the incident into smaller areas, d) I've gained some physical control (the roadblocks around town) and d) we got a lot more to learn still about the extent of this incident.

    Basically as overall IC right now, the first 30 minutes or so I'm just trying to make sure I've started enough resources, hopefully the right resources, and put some kind of organization to response. I'm also gonna put a high priority on getting some kind of a north-south road opened so I can send runners to all sides of the incident to get a better idea of what's happening than radios allow.

    As we approach a half hour +, I've started resources and organized the incoming. Now I start making sure we have organized Sector Command Posts, that I've gotten reports on the status of the institutions (each will be it's own sector if heavily damaged), establish "gateways" that units that were at the outside ring of fire station-staging coming in are confirmed where they're going. And the Gateway areas also serve to check ambulances; extent of injuries; and assign what hospital to transport to. Hopefully, if all's going right, each Sector has an Triage & Loading area that's getting their Reds out. Then the Gateways serve one or more sector, and assign the hospital. The Gateways also serve as the final stopping line for freelancers -- if resources arrive that didn't go to a staging area, their held at the Gateway till CP gives them an sector to report too.

    Divide & Conquer. That's about all you can do. You're Incident Commander; but in reality your organizing and delivering resources probably to a half-dozen or more smaller incidents, each of which would be a disaster in their own right. Just have everyone keep breaking it down into smaller units beneath them until it becomes managable like "everyday" occurences.

    By the hour mark, I want to have my top officers give me a report of buildings that are potentially in need of advanced "USAR" teams for searches or extrications, or other unusual conditions that they don't think the ordinary F.D. resources on scene will be able to mitigate in a timely manner.

    Kenny, why did you bring up this evil scenario? I'm going to be thinking about it for days!

  7. #7
    Truckie from Missouri
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    "... why did you bring up this evil scenario? I'm going to be thinking about it for days!"

    Great! That's what I wanted to do! Thought provoking, ain't it?!?

    To be honest, I'm really not for sure what would happen in my area. We have disaster plans, and come to think of it, next shift I oughtta look at them, as severe weather season is starting soon.... We have disaster plans, mutual aid, lots of several types of hazards, from jails to schools to nursing homes to a hospital to factories and plants, for the nagging haz-mat concerns.

    One thing I would want to address is electricity. You'll need generators and lights, now! As I said, in this scenario the twister came at 1830, and even in the height of summer, when there's seemingly endless daylight, it will get dark, and fast. Always seems that these storms hapen around dinner time!

    As for stradegy and tactics, it would depend on where the tornado hit -- neighborhoods or commercial district or industrial district -- as to what our specific actions would be. I am reasonably sure that mutual aid will be called in, if they weren't hit too, and as even though my department is a paid department, we're still small by comparison, so off duty personnel would be called in as well to add additional manpower.

    Ken
    Local 3133

    [This message has been edited by Truckie from Missouri (edited February 22, 2000).]

  8. #8
    Dalmation90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    And don't forget...depending on the weather, even if mutual aid hasn't been hit, they may still be under severe threat and not able to send as much help as they normally would just in case another twister comes through!

    Speaking of generators, I'm amazed at how many departments don't have decent size generators on their trucks -- our six fire apparatus have 2 -- 5kw, 2 -- 7.5kw, 1 -- 15kw, and 1 1.5kw (on our service truck -- runs two lights) plus we have an ancient workhorse of the 35kw Diesel in our station basement that starts automatically. Station 2 has a 5kw we have to connect & start manually.

    Those three-eyed lights are nice, but they just don't light up like a couple Quartz lights!


  9. #9
    BURNSEMS
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    We are not in Texas any more ToTo,,, We have a SERIOUS problem here with Tree Falls, Nothing Like a 70ft Pine across a Highway, Ohh yey on the way down it rips down Phone and Electric Lines,, We would only take Life Threat calls immidiatly all others will wait, Call the County for Assistance with Trees and Such,,, I am sure we all would be a Little Short Staffed as most folks want to secure the Home front First then report to the Station for assighnment,,, Hey Scott remember the Tornado that did Hit Granbury in 91,,,that was a HOOOOOT

  10. #10
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Yeah Jeff, I remember. Luckily I was at work that day - had to find 2 ladies lost in a vault in on of the construction trailers at the Peak after watching the tornado come across the lake.

    Imagine a field of trailers 450 yards long by 800 yards deep, all the same color, spaced about 4' apart and you get a call from a couple of frantic ladies locked in a vault with no lights and they're not sure which trailer they're in. Took us about an hour to find them.

  11. #11
    Ledbelly
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Only thing I could add to Matt's post would be to call for a radio check... get a PAR of the stations/units and see how everyone fared... check their status and get a quick visual (from the front porch) size-up of damage in their districts....

  12. #12
    D. Anderson
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We had a severe thunderstorm two years ago and the company I was with that day had 22 runs before noon (we start at 8:00). We have thirty rigs, and at the height of the storm all of them were out and the dispatcher was just coming on the radio and saying "Any companies available for a call?", it was unreal. We went literally from one end of the city to the other on one run.

    We haven't had a tornado since I've been on though, thank God!

  13. #13
    Lieutenant Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    If this scenario happened in my community and I happened to be the poor SOB in charge...

    1. Recall all off duty personnel and have them respond to their stations for deployment and activate the city's disaster plan. Command would probably be at Fire Headquarters, or the Haz Mat District 3 Tactical Operations Module could be used for the mobile command post just outside the affected area

    2. Activate the Fire District 14 mutual aid plan and depending on the size of the area affected activate the State's task force mobilization plan. Break up the area into geographical sectors with its own ICS reporting to the main IC.

    3. Start a systematic search of the areas, triaging for EMS, setting up an area for treatment of the walking wounded, a dispatch point for ambulances for the seriously hurt and a temporary morgue for those who did not survive.

    4. Pray for guidance in a difficult situation!

    ------------------
    Take care and stay safe...Lt. Gonzo

    [This message has been edited by Lieutenant Gonzo (edited February 26, 2000).]

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