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Wednesday, January 26, 2022
Indian River Reviews Tips for Bad Weather Incident Response for Firefighters & Apparatus Drivers

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Indian River Reviews Tips for Bad Weather incident Response for Firefighters

Improving fire company operations and firefighter safety while responding during inclement weather is paramount to safe operations and the topic of Indian River’s firefighter drill and training event held on Wednesday, January 26th.

There’s no such thing as a snow day for firefighters!  The key to a successful response during inclement weather is the fact that these events are rarely a total surprise and planning is essential.  Inclement weather only makes the job at hand more dangerous. Having a good safety plan in place that addresses severe weather goes a long way in reducing risks and preventing unfortunate circumstances.

Firefighters are in as much danger as civilians when heavy weather approaches.

When first responders are called upon to respond during severe weather, or in its aftermath, they must be prepared to manage a variety of low-frequency, high-risk safety hazards.

The fire company has standard operating guidelines (SOGs) for response to emergencies generated by severe storms and al firefighters should learn them and be guided by them. If not, this will serve as a foundation to learn upon keep firefighters and other first responders safe.

When the National Weather Service issues a severe storm watch, company officers should start preparing their personnel and equipment for response. Efforts to monitor and check Doppler radar images, via the Internet or television, for information regarding storm strength, movement, anticipated precipitation and wind speeds should be conducted.

Tips For Communication During Inclement Weather

Rain, hail, wind, and snow can be just as hazardous as a hurricane or tidal flooding if your first responders are not prepared. Early warning and proper training on potential weather hazards in your respective fire district can keep you safe and ahead of the game as much as possible.

  • Know the weather threats to your local area in and out.
  • Clearly define operational objectives, goals, and responsibilities.
  • Have and know weather specific personal protective equipment (PPE) and gear.

What’s The Weather Like?

Knowing the usual and current weather conditions in your area can help you train and prepare for emergencies long before you’re in the fray or mix of things. Tapping into the National Weather Service (NWS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and local broadcasts can alert you and your fire company officers early.

If roadways are flooded, what are your alternate routes? Will downed power lines or heavy cloud cover affect your ability to communicate clearly and navigate the roadway?

Weather-Specific PPE & Rescue Gear

Along with proper communication tools, it’s essential to be prepared with weather-specific safety gear. Structural firefighting gear may be a liability in a flood rescue situation. If your area is prone to a particular type of bad weather, make sure your crew is familiar with the best clothing, driving techniques, and rescue tools for that type of weather.

Report observations of damaging winds such as downed trees or power lines, structure damage, tornados or funnel clouds, or pea-size or larger hail to the local NWS office.

High winds, torrential rains, lightning, and hail present significant physical hazards to the public and responders alike.

Strong winds can blow vehicles off the road and overturn even large vehicles even fire apparatus and aerial apparatus. Additionally, winds cause trees to fall, utility wires to come down, structures to disintegrate and creating missiles out of the resulting debris.

Torrential rains associated with severe weather, especially tropical storms and hurricanes, present a number of safety hazards including localized flooding, road washouts, persons trapped in water and persons trapped in vehicles trapped by water.