This piece was originally published as part of the “When Disaster Strikes” feature in the September 2016 issue of electroindustry.
Don Iverson, Midwest Field Representative, NEMA
Flooding in the Midwest occurs predominantly in the spring, as the result of an overabundance of snowfall in the upper Midwest and Canada. Rivers and dams overflow into cities, devastating whole communities and displacing residents. Hurricanes cause similar damage elsewhere. Tropical storms peak in September and carry massive storm surges that collide with the southern seaboard of the United States.
Although predicting natural disasters may be difficult, the NEMA field representatives monitor these events to know when flood waters will strike. This information helps them address the severity of the disaster.
There are several actions that the field representatives take in a flooding event:
- Monitor news outlets and other public information outlets to determine the extent of damage and damage areas
- Maintain contact with state and local emergency management officials, mutual aid organizations, and code officials to determine need
- If possible, participate in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) briefings to responders as they prepare to deploy to a disaster area and join the FEMA response team as electrical subject matter experts
- Contact NEMA members in affected areas to see if assistance is needed
We widely distribute the NEMA guide, Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment, in affected areas. It provides valuable advice on the safe handling of electrical infrastructure in buildings that experienced saltwater and contaminated flood water. Such damage not only hinders the electrical infrastructure from properly functioning but also removes from the equipment all safeguards that are there to protect the public from fire and electric shock.Read the September 2016 issue of electroindustry.