August 26, 2021 | Diesel Technology Forum
Readiness and Resilience: Preparing for the Next Disaster
Diesel is the gold standard for working in difficult conditions, when the most power is needed that can go deep into backcountry and work for hours, being highly mobile and untethered. Diesel’s hidden asset is the supportive and available global network of engine and equipment dealers, mobile and fixed fueling options, servicing, rental and parts networks.
Aren’t we all feeling a bit more vulnerable these days?
From traditional weather-related events like the recent floods in Tennessee and Europe, to the growing number of wildfires in the West, to the ongoing, resurging COVID-19 global pandemic, to the tragic building collapse of Champlain Towers in the Surfside Florida, disasters that used to be a once in a lifetime event have become all too frequent occurrences. Among the many things that can come out of this string of tragedy is a preparedness mindset: thinking, planning, readiness. What’s in your “go bag”? What’s the evacuation plan when the fire approaches or the stream rises or some other disaster hits? September, being national preparedness month, is a good time to sort that out. And a key part of this is having the right tools and technology that you can count on.
When disaster strikes, the ability to mount a rapid and effective response to minimize the loss of life and property is top priority of governments, communities, individuals and families. We turn to our first responders – fire and police – who get the first calls for rescues and getting out of dangerous situations, and they roll out with their trucks, gear and equipment to the scene. Federal, state and local government emergency managers swing into action to assess the situation and implement the necessary plans and activate resources. Public health and safety, communications, electric power and mobility/transportation networks are top priorities for governments.
Utilities – communications and gas and electric power providers – are at the core part of the response network. They have made enormous strides in preparedness and response, with mutual aid pacts in place to now bring in necessary response equipment and personnel from other parts of the country in advance of events, dramatically shortening response, recovery and restoration times. Storm related damages that knockdown powerlines or cell towers require specialized and heavy equipment and machines that can lift and clear downed trees and debris, drill holes and reset 120-foot poles, and sometimes heavy transformers and switchgear or portable refrigeration and cooling equipment is required.
Rising sea levels have made regular flooding of urban areas a greater focus. Many cities are working with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and other agencies for long-term solutions as part of climate adaptation and resilience planning. Some of these incorporate portable heavy barriers that are brought in or if automated, activated in advance of certain conditions. New pumping stations can be built that can be activated to rapidly draw down or divert storm water flows away from protected zones. Today towable mobile dewatering pumps are part of the core disaster readiness inventory for communities along with backup generators, light towers, skid steer loaders and material handling equipment.
Building collapses are thankfully a rare occurrence but by their very nature require heavy equipment in both the initial response, to enhance the ability to rescue survivors, and during the recovery phase and removal and digging through millions of pounds of concrete, steel and other materials.
Wildfire response in the West relies on a mix of non-traditional (aircraft and bulldozers) and traditional fire-fighting equipment like pumper trucks, water tankers and all-terrain field fire response vehicles. Bulldozers – not known for rapid response speed – use their sheer power and ability to maneuver around all kinds of steep and unsteady terrain and are a critical part of the large wildfire response effort, clearing ground vegetation to create a fire break often at the fire’s edge.
In every instance outlined above in bold, these are examples of where diesel power played and is playing a primary or substantial role. In each of these examples of disasters and responses, having the right tools and technology that is reliable, available and proven, that can get the job done during adverse conditions, is a core part of readiness.
Diesel’s hidden asset is the supportive and available global network of engine and equipment dealers, mobile and fixed fueling options, servicing, rental and parts networks.
As the saying goes, disasters don’t wait! Get prepared now. Visit www.ready.gov for more insights on National Preparedness Month.