Gulf Coast Fire Department Keeps Eye on Isaac

As many fire departments along the coast, firefighters in Gulf Shores, Ala. have been keeping a close eye on Isaac.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the area was being hit with powerful surf and high winds, a precursor for things yet to come.

"This past weekend, it appeared we may be at ground zero," said Gulf Shores Fire Chief Hartly Brokenshaw. "Now, that's not the case. it's going to be hitting Louisiana now. We're bracing for powerful surges."

Over the past few days, firefighters have been preparing for Isaac's wrath.

A unified command center has been up and running for several days, with Mayor Robert Craft acting as incident commander.

The chief added that the center will remain open for the foreseeable future as officials, monitor the storm's path.

They are keeping a close eye on the water that comes ashore to make sure if it contains oil, appropriate measures are taken.

Officials throughout the gulf are wondering if Isaac will stir up oil that spilled in 2010.

The fire station on the beach is ready for the storm as well, and crews are ready to leave at a moment's notice.

Before the last firefighters leave, they'll be opening, not closing the bay doors and a French door in the back of the firehouse.

Instead of trying to keep the water out, the firehouse was built to let it in.

"We learned that the water is furious. It's destructive. So, we stopped fighting it," explained Deputy Chief Keith Martin.

"When they get back, they'll hook up an inch-and-three-quarter and get the sand out," he said, adding that they've done it before. Electrical outlets and panel boxes on the first floor were installed higher than usual to keep them dry.

The ladder truck, engine and personnel will move inland to an airport if the surge gets as high as expected.

Brokenshaw added that additional personnel will be on duty as needed.

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