POLICE Magazine

DEC 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1058219

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Page 14 of 60

12 POLICE DECEMBER 2018 the use of mobile cellular units were in place. We found one cellular service pro- vider to have better coverage during the initial week and a half of the fires than an- other major provider, but then the qual- ity of coverage swapped between the two major providers. TOWING SERVICE CONTRACTS COME IN HANDY We discovered that towing service provid- ers quickly became unavailable because of the unusual need to move generators throughout the county to power lights and facilities. Bad winter storms can stretch towing service providers thin in our county, but the fires created an addi- tional load on their services beyond what we could have predicted. MAKE SURE YOU'RE STOCKED UP ON TIRES We quickly ran out of tires for patrol ve- hicles because of deputies having to drive over debris. Because these vehicles oper- ated in life-threatening areas, the first responders had to drive on a flat tire until they were out of harm's way at the expense of needing to replace a tire (or several). A benefit of having a single-source parts management contract was the vendor was able to quickly acquire a large number of tires from any source that had them in inventory. A VEHICLE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BURNED TO BE DAMAGED BEYOND REPAIR We found several vehicles that showed no signs of contact with fire, but were total losses from the intense heat that cracked the paint; melted plastic bumpers, plastic headlights, or interior trim panels; and caused the laminate vinyl layer in the windshield and side windows to bubble apart. If the interior of a vehicle smells like smoke, you will never successfully get the smell out of all of the fabrics, plastics, or vinyl materials. BE FLEXIBLE AND ADAPT A receive, store, and supply (RSS) ware- house was needed for all of the different commodities that would need to be dis- tributed during and after the fires. We had a plan in place to utilize our old light equipment fleet maintenance facility, but as the direction of the fires closed in on our county center, we had to quickly adapt to another location. We used our heav y equipment fleet maintenance fa- cility as an RSS warehouse and our team quickly responded as a warehouse man- ager, inventory control workers, forklift operators, material handlers, and deliv- ery drivers to meet logistical fire response and shelter needs. An unprecedented 48 evacuation shelters were opened within 48 hours. BE STRATEGIC WITH FUEL DELIVERIES We quickly went from trying to sched- ule fuel station deliveries based on burn rates (no pun intended) to having one truck arrive every day and drop as much fuel as would fit into the tanks. A major- ity of mutual aid vehicles began arriving 48 hours after the start of the fires, and fuel consumption quadrupled quickly. At times, law enforcement escorts had to be arranged for the fuel trucks to move effi- ciently through impacted delivery routes. MUTUAL AID VEHICLES WILL NEED MAINTENANCE TOO Sonoma County was very fortunate to have an enormous amount of mutual aid arrive from other agencies quickly. e outside agency vehicles had the same problems with tires, air filters, and fluid levels as our own fleet, but we did not have agreements in place to service or perform repairs on their vehicles. Our County How To Counsel department was quick to react and establish agreements so we could keep the mutual aid vehicles in service to help protect our community. DON'T FORGET OLD SCHOOL PROCESSES Both of our maintenance facilities were without power, phones, internet, Wi-Fi, and natural gas for heating for up to a week. Tracking the issuance of motor pool vehicles, fuel usage, maintenance and re- pair work, inventory control, and working hours all had to be done manually with- out the use of computers, printers, or copy machines. Proper documentation is criti- cal for potential cost reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and even though every- one reacted quickly to the disaster, we had to slow down and ensure we had all of the necessary data to enter into our fleet management information system (FMIS) at a later date. CABIN AIR FILTERS ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS ENGINE AIR FILTERS The first responder vehicles that we ser- viced and repaired during the fires had cabin air filters plugged just as badly as the engine air filters. ese vehicles were traveling into the heart of the fires, and having clean air in the cabin was a must for the men and women protecting life, property, and the environment. THE WORK DOESN'T END WHEN THE FIRES DO Some of the challenges we have begun to overcome as we transitioned operations from emergency response to recovery in- clude the discovery of damage on vehicles used during the fires, input of collected manual data into our FMIS, data collection reconciliation, insurance claims process- ing, inventory replenishment, the separa- tion of emergency operations labor billings from the fleet budget, lost billable hours calculations, a temporary increase in fleet size due to recovery operations staffing and vehicle needs, and working with team members who lost their homes. David Worthington is the fleet manager for the County of Sonoma, CA. He can be reached at David.Worthington@sonoma- county.org. Disasters disrupt everything. If you lose power or have communication problems, you'll need to adapt. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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