Wed March 6, 2013
Including Power Utilities In Command Center Boosted Snowstorm Fight-ability
Some of the first aftermath data from two major and back-to-back winter snow storms is filtering out of Kansas City city hall. Adding two agencies to the Emergency Operations Center was counted as a positive to the Public Safety and Emergency Services Committee of the Council.
Those private or quasi-private operations served public transit and distribution of electrical power.
The Ops nerve center stayed open 24 hours in the storm of February 21, another 30 hours during last week’s heavy, wet snow.
Center Director Gene Shepherd told Council Committee Members that the Area Transportation Authority had a crew in the center for a first time and KCP&L was a worthy addition.
Shepherd said the lesson had been learned from what he called “the February blizzard of two years ago,” relating that “it’s just vital to have those two representatives there in our EOC when we can, especially in the instance of this second storm, because we have a direct link to address those issues that arise with power or bus or transportation services.”
Shepherd said having face-to-face contact between KC ATA and plowing crews helped free stuck buses a lot faster than before.
A retired fire chief, Shepherd said there was no lag time between when a sparking power line was reported to the fire department and KCP&L. Both had agents in the same room, able to see and talk with each other.