NEHRP Clearinghouse

Special Report. Fire Department Preparedness for Extreme Weather Emergencies and Natural Disasters.
Stambaugh, H.; Sensenig, D.
Federal Emergency Management Agency, Washington, DC., April 2008, 39 p.
Few organizations are as resourceful and multitalented as fire departments. Called upon to respond to many types of incidents, disasters, and situationsin all kinds of weather, day and night our country's fire service represents an amazing cadre of specially trained and skilled individuals. They save heart attack victims, rescue people from flash floods, and ensure that buildings meet applicable fire and life safety codes. They can decontaminate individuals exposed to harmful chemical and biological agents, extricate victims of vehicle crashes, educate the public about preventing fires and how to escape, extinguish fires, and bring arsonists to justice. The public relies heavily on first responders during emergencies, and the more substantial the incident or the disaster, the greater the need for assistance delivered by the fire department and others with public safety missions. When communities experience severe weather conditions, providing that assistance becomes more challenging. Earthquakes, hurricanes, blizzards and ice storms, floods, power outages, and extreme heat conspire to create dangerous working conditions, impassable roads, access nightmares, and some difficult dispatch and triage choices. The very circumstances that necessitate more staffing often interfere with the ability of responders to provide that assistance and support, travel to the station, or get to a scene.
; Crimes; Buildings; Fire prevention; First responders; Emergency preparedness; Public safety; Emergency communications; Fire fighting; Communities; Fire departments; Natural disasters; Weather; Arson