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Hurricane Irene occurred between the months of August and September 2011. Initially, it began as a tropical wave in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It spread as light wind shear and warm water and later gained strengthened as entered the inland. Its effects were heavily felt in New York and North Carolina. In the New York, its effects were second to those felt in 1972, during Hurricane Agnes. The damages experienced were due to flooding, heavy rainfall, and storm surge. The critical systems affected included power systems of electric grids, bridges, air transport, and wash out roads (Yoon and Raymond, 2012). This pear seeks to analyze the impacts of Hurricane Irene, logistics and transportation issues, and make comparisons with Hurricane Sandy.
At the onset of Hurricane Irene, its effects could not be predicted. When it reached the inland, New York City, its impacts were more intense in the lowland region. According to Shinn (2013), roads were swept, and water transport was impossible since the storms were accompanied by waves that made it impossible for water transport using small boats. Some subway systems and the road tunnels were swept while others were just blocked and thus impassable. The trapped individuals in the lowland areas had a difficult time escaping the floods, and some succumbed to the floods and drowned. Moreover, the destruction of power lines led to blackouts in several areas, and most electrical power dependent operations came to a halt. The cabbage collection centers and treatment plants were overwhelmed, and their contamination of water was intense. There was fear of a breakout of waterborne diseases. For the safety of the people and reduction of casualties, a well-organized transport response team was of value at the point when the impacts of the hurricane had been felt, and more impacts were expected.
Assuming that a state of Emergency has been declared in the affected areas and I being the Incident Commander, there is need to formulate an effective emergency response as I await the federal assistance to take over. According to Buck et al. (2006), an Incident Commander is concerned with organizing and handling all the aspects of emergency response; developing incident response objectives, manage incident operations, and apply resources and responsibility to the people involved.
It is important to understand the situation at hand and consider the factors that would affect response. As an Incident Commander, a team to assess the situation would have to be immediately dispatched to the ground and communicate back. Preparations to handle the situation would then follow whereby the team to respond goes to the drawing table to plan. Training exercise has to be immediately done, and the equipment’s needed to be assembled and certified. All the resources are mobilized, and help sought when need be. The team would have to ensure that transport machinery such as emergency boats are in place. Choppers may also be included to help for safe transfer of people from areas where the storm can allow choppers to fly low. The tactical level of response would operate under the procedures designed and given by the preparation team (Vasconez, n.d).
For easy communications and response, a support team of communication and information management is important. The team helps to develop information policies and ensures the safety of the personnel responding to the situation on the ground. The effective coordination of the Command System ensures the containment of the situation before the arrival of the federal team. In the case of the Hurricane Irene, the logistics and transportation were accomplished by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security. The two response teams worked together with the state authorities to ensure the safety of the affected individuals.
Logistics and Transportation are key factors that ensure the safety of people before, during, and after hurricanes. The occurrence of hurricanes can be predicted long before they occur. Hurricane Irene and Sandy were predicted the federal government agencies concerned with emergency response were well aware of the impending danger. There are some similarities between the logistics and transportation before and during the hurricane Irene and Sandy. The similarities are based on the notices for evacuation and the bodies responsible for emergency response and transportation of people during the hurricanes.
According to Brown and Parton (2014), the majority of the New York residents did not leave the evacuation zones during both hurricanes. For both hurricanes, Irene and Sandy, evacuation orders were given before their occurrences. The major transport sub-ways were scheduled for closure before the hurricane’s landfall. However, the majority of the residents did not leave at all while others were getting up leaving. Moreover, some people were not aware that they were in evacuation zones, the low-lying areas.
Logistics and transportation are the most important aspects to be considered when preparing for an emergency response (Riesbeck, 2010). A good transport plan ensures the safe transfer of people to safe grounds during emergencies of hurricanes. Thus, it is vital for both state and federal government to plan and have a well-coordinated logistics and transport in preparation for emergency situations.
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