Sneaky Weather and Scene Safety: How do first responders know?

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 3:30 PM
226AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Margaret L. Fowke, NOAA/NWS, Silver Spring, MD

" Medic 701, Engine 701 respond on 7 Bravo, victim struck by lightning, scene is unsecure"

Every day weather impacts the safety of US citizens and emergency responders. En route to every weather related call, emergency crews are asking "Is the scene safe?" Scene safety and scene size up is a basic skill taught to every emergency responder before approaching any emergency. Severe weather always presents challenges in the area of scene safety for the injured victim(s) as well as emergency responders. Flying debris, downed trees, power lines, water, traffic, hail, lightning, snow/ice and other safety issues hinder the emergency response. So, how do emergency crews know how to perform scene size up or when it is safe to approach a victim--such as rare lightning strikes or tricky weather?

This presentation will examine the NWS applications such as "iNWS" and private sector applications of radars for use on emergency vehicles, 911 call centers and hand held radios. It will examine weather safety issues facing emergency crews and how the weather enterprise can support decisions during each phase of the emergency response:1. Dispatch 2. En-route 3. On-scene safety, unsecure scene, staging of emergency vehicle 4. On-scene care disruptions, medical equipment decisions 5. Weather impacts affecting transport to medical facility, weather related hospital alerts.

The US Weather Enterprise has tremendous opportunity to support decisions involving weather related safety and emergency care decisions when weather disrupts emergency medical care.

Will your weather information be on the next emergency response?