Based on his extensive experience as a swiftwater rescue instructor and incident commander,
Tempo: Some Thoughts on Flood Management
EquipmentWhat equipment do you need to do the job based on your analysis? Will it work when wet and in the dark? Are we really trained to operate it? Is it a toy or a tool? Can I repair it in the field? Can I decon it? Does everyone have a PFD available to them? Can we use different color PFDs to identify different functions? Do we have enough for both rescuers and victims? Do we have the right sizes for everyone? The list is endless and I have not even mentioned the battery issues.
ManagementSome essentials are:
Unfortunately, many emergency managers at the county and state levels spend most of their time planning and little as incident commanders and operations managers. Many times they will be hurled into the middle of an event in one of these roles because their name appears on some document.
PersonnelWhat are their existing capabilities and once my people are exhausted, where do I get more that are just as trained based on the needs of the analysis? Don't forget to identify replacement workers and replacement managers (35% of the personnel who are members of my department can't swim well enough to save themselves in a pool. I don't get to pick who is working the next flood. The challenge is to train them to fit in somehow and be safe at it.).
OperationsChoose/go to the proper tactic to get the job(s) done. The size-up helps you to choose the one that is most likely to work. As always, choose the fastest, lowest-risk alternative. This usually also means the simplest and lowest-tech one.
My experience has been that once the event starts, the planning function/office of any incident command system is the most crucial, because we have to somehow stay one step ahead of the flood. The essential questions that must be asked in order to determine the appropriate response is determined by the words SEA DEPTH.
SEA DEPTH = Situation, Egress, Access, Development, Existing rainfall, Predicted rainfall, Topography
Determine the mode of operation or strategy.
Alert Status = Notify/advise and prepare personnel and equipment
If in Emergency Response Mode then choose STRATEGIC MODE: Locate, Access, Stabilize, or Transport.
Once the Strategic Mode is determined then do a SIZE
Once SIZE-UP is completed then determine TACTICS: Talk, Reach, Throw, Row, Go/Tow, Helo
Remember, FLOODS BY THEIR VERY NATURE ARE HAZMAT/PUBLIC HEALTH EVENTS. Can you DECON evacuees prior to sheltering?
That's a lot to remember, isn't it? Yet all of these factors have to be considered for even a small flood.
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