Depending on the magnitude of the earthquake fire

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Depending on the magnitude of the earthquake, fire department operations may continue for some time. There are many cases of people surviving for days in collapsed buildings. The US&R system likely will deploy its resources, which will involve mutual aid, extended shifts, and all of the challenges asso- ciated with large-scale operations. Tsunamis are a disruption of regular wave action caused by underwater seismic activity. These waves can travel great distances at high speeds until they collide with a shoreline. When a tsunami impacts the shoreline, it often behaves like a flash flood (or perhaps more closely, a dam failure). Instead of waves that simply break on the beach, tsunamis have the entire mass of the ocean behind them. When they strike land, they may be a miles-long wall of water. As they roll across the land, they pick up boats, debris from crushed buildings, automobiles and people. When tsunamis reach the apex, they reverse course and rush back to the sea, carrying everything they picked up with them. There may be more than one of these waves as the result of a seismic event. A tsunami of great magnitude was the Indonesian tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004, which killed an estimated 300,000 people. No portion of the U.S. coastline is immune from this phenomenon. While earthquakes are a no-notice event, there is a system in place for tsunami warning. The NWS operates two tsunami warning centers, one in Alaska and the other in Hawaii. These centers can provide information regarding the intensity and speed of the tsunami. A tsunami created near the shore will limit the warning time. The only way to protect one against tsu- namis safely is to get out of the way. Evacuation inland and to higher elevations along the direct path of the tsunami is the most effective way to save lives. Fire departments, in conjunction with emergency managers, should have a formal means to receive tsunami warnings when they are issued. While fire departments in coastal areas are performing damage assessments, rescue and firefighting operations, they could be at risk from a tsunami in the hours following an earthquake. This is exactly what hap-
28 The All-Hazard Fire Service pened in the earthquake that struck the Japanese Island of Okushiri in 1993. As residents evacuated the coastline for high ground in the dark of night, fires started by the earthquake lit up the city, and within three to five minutes a black wave swept into the city and destroyed burning buildings and fire engines alike. Several more tsunamis followed, destroying large sections of the city and killing more than 200 people, including many firefighters. The NWS defines an ice storm as “… a form of winter storm where ice accumulates 1/4-inch or more.” The accumulation of ice, especially on power lines, and on trees that fall on power lines, can cause major disruptions to electrical and telephone service. Until the streets can be plowed and treated with sand, salt or other chemicals, the roads may be impassible to vehicles lacking tire chains. Motor vehicle accidents

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