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Diesel Power and Disaster Preparedness

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Diesel Powers America's Emergency Readiness & Response Efforts During Massive Snow Storms

Hospitals, Public Safety, Communications, and Snow Removal Systems Rely On Diesel Power During Crisis

As large parts of the nation battle storms of epic proportions, local, state and federal governments, emergency responders and businesses are moving into emergency response mode relying on some of the most powerful and reliable and proven technology available today.  According to meteorologists at Weather.com, more than 100 million people could be impacted by the current winter storm which is expected to stretch 2,100 miles across the United States.

Allen Schaeffer, the Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum, issued the following statement on diesel’s vital role in the United States’ emergency preparedness for this storm system.

Diesel Engines Will Be Plowing, Clearing and Treating Roads

Several hundred people were trapped when a subway train on the A line, which goes to JFK airport, stalled just before 1 a.m. after leaving the above-ground Aqueduct station. With snow blocking the rail that provides power to the train, the heating failed. It was nearly 8 a.m. by the time a diesel-powered locomotive was able to reach the train and tow it to safety.  (“Blizzard stops East Coast in its tracks” - The Los Angeles Times, 12/28/10)

 “Diesel power plays a critical role in protecting public health and safety during these critical weather events,” Schaeffer said.  “Because of its unique combination of power, performance, reliability and availability, no other technology or fuel can meet the full range of needs in responding to national weather emergencies.

“The Illinois and Great Lakes region is expected to get 18-24 inches of snow, and diesel-powered salt spreaders, road graders, wheel loaders and snow plows are working overtime to clear roadways and put down chemical treatments to keep roads safe and from freezing.  In parts of the Midwest, with snow expected to accumulate 18 to 24 inches with blowing snow and drifting pos

sible, massive diesel snow plows will extract the snow from roadways and the

tallest drifts.  In the cities, mobile diesel-powered snow melting units are increasingly becoming the technology of choice to help cities deal with a high volume of snow and limited space."

Diesel Generators Will Work To Keep Communications Online

75 percent of U.S. small business owners rate a power outage as a top threat to their business, which reinforces the crucial role of diesel as a back-up power source.  (Backup Electrical Power with Diesel Generators  - Diesel Technology Forum)

“Communications plays a vital role in our world today, especially with the reliance on cellular and Smartphone technology,” Schaeffer said.  “Our text messages, tweets, emails and calls still flow through a system that requires reliable and uninterrupted electrical power.  Diesel-powered generators play an essential role in the internet and this increasingly connected world.  Com

puter ‘server farms’ handle huge volumes of data for essential financial services, ATM networks and national commerce and trading centers.

“Even momentar

y losses of grid power can result not only in inconveniences, but damaging losses of business revenue, the inability to access bank funds, and lost worker productivity.   At the nation’s busiest airports, diesel power is working to keep travelers safe both in the air and on the ground.  Radar and telecommunications systems have their own back-up power systems and the majority depends on diesel emergency generators to restore critical electrical power during storm-related power interruptions.”

Diesel Power Keeps Public Safety and Water Systems Functioning

The Emergency Management Department last weekend obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency industrial-size generators . . . to provide power to water treatment plants in the event electricity is disrupted, he said. The FEMA generators will support generators the Emergency Management Department already has positioned across the state, he said.  (“Governor declares state of emergency to prepare for winter storm” – The Oklahoman, 1/31/11)

“State and local governments bear the brunt of these kinds of major wea

ther events, and are expected to assure the continuity of essential services in the most challenging of conditions,” Schaeffer said.  “With a deluge of snow and rain, local governments need to make sure that public safety systems are operational, from the 911 emergency call centers to drinking water treatment and sewer systems.  These vital services must remain fully functional under all weather conditions, including power outages. Diesel powered pumping systems - both portable and fixed - are in place in thousands of cities throughout the country to prevent flooding, and to keep drinking water treatment systems providing safe drinking water when the electrical power goes out.

“Back up emergency diesel generators are the technology of choice and are in place at America’s airports and critical telecommunication centers.  With a self-contained fuel supply, these diesel-powered units aren’t vulnerable to utility service interruptions such as the emergency shut-off of natural gas pipelines that are common safety procedures in natural disasters.

Hospitals and Emergency Responders Need Diesel Power During Blackouts

As for power, the hospital has backup emergency generators, and they've ordered back up diesel fuel that could keep them running for several days, if needed.   (“Hospitals And Airlines Put Emergency Plans Into Effect”) – Fox Two News, St. Louis, 1/31/11)

“Hospitals need to have reliable and self-contained power systems in the event of loss of grid power from ice accumulation or downed electrical wires,” Schaeffer said.   “Emergency responders – fire and rescue units – rely primarily on diesel power for their response apparatus, ambulances and for powering their emergency communication systems.

“As the United States braces for yet another major storm event, it’s reassuring to know that emergency diesel equipment and generators will once again be relied upon to keep our nation functioning – from our hospitals and police stations, to our highways and communications systems.”

 

About The Diesel Technology Forum

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems.  For more information visit www.dieselforum.org

- People, Places & Things/9-1-1magazine.com (via The Diesel Forum, 2/3/11)

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