Well here in Central Virginia, we are recovering from the earthquake and subsequent after shocks, we are steady-looking over our shoulder and waiting on Irene to show her ugly head. Make no mistake it is full on hurricane prep mode here.
The video below is of Hurricane Irene as it heads through the Bahamas, and while it does not look intimidating this particular storm has the chance to be devastating. With the biggest risk being flash flooding.
I will be on shift tomorrow (regular duty day) and possibly part of the day Sunday (typically they hold people over depending on the severity of the storm) so here are some Hurricane Survival tips to help get you through.
1. Get your home life straight today. Make sure you have a plan for your significant other, children, parents, pets etc. That way you can do your job without distraction because as much as you may want to go home and check on them, you may not be able to (either call load, staffing, or impassable roadways)
2. Make sure your equipment is at optimal operating capacity.
3. Wear your Personal Flotation Device (PFD). If you even think that you might be within 10 feet of moving water, or a body of water put it on.
4. Bring your throw bag with you. Same as the above, swift moving water rescues are time critical, do not have to go back to the rig for time sensitive equipment.
5. GET OUT OF YOUR TURN OUT GEAR! You have a much better chance of survival in your station wear, all your turn out gear will do is drown you.
6. Never tie a rope around yourself. The only time a rope should be attached to you is if you are trying a baited rescue. This should only be attempted if you have a PFD with a detachable ring. The rope tied around you could be a significant entanglement hazard, and could do more harm than good.
7. If you do get swept off of your feet, remember to defensively swim. These means go to your back with your feet pointed down stream. This will allow you to navigate obstacles, and avoid foot entrapment.
8. Remember Reach, Throw, Row, Go
9. If time allows try to have upstream safeties to spot large debris that may impact your rescue.
10. Bring extra everything to work. Make sure you have extra pants, boots, shirts, socks, towels, etc. and put them on the rig with you, it may be a while before you get back to the station to change.
11. Lastly, just like with anything we do a risk benefit analysis is a must in dealing with any of these situations. As a fireman from our water rescue team said in a recent email “do not risk yourself for a body recovery”.
So in summary be smart out there, and make sure your home life is straight before coming to duty. Since I will be at work my posting chances may be limited for the next few days, but if I have the chance I will be tweeting (@averagejakeff).
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!