In preparation for Tropical Storm Laura, the Hot Springs Fire Department (HSFD) opened the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located at the Central Fire Station, at around 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 27.
Hot Springs Fire and Police Command Staff, along with representatives from other City departments, are present in the EOC to ensure the tactical employment of City resources will meet the strategic goals associated with the management of incidents that might occur due to the storm.
Hot Springs Fire and Police departments met on Wednesday, Aug. 26, to finalize operational plans for the City’s first responders. The opening of the EOC is the final act in preparation before emergency operations commence. Earlier this week, many other preparations took place, including designing a response plan to this storm and implementing mitigation strategies to reduce the impact of the storm on the Hot Springs community.
Also, the City’s Public Works Department began producing and distributing sand bags at multiple downtown locations – Hill Wheatley Plaza, the Exchange Street Parking Deck and Mountain Valley Street – for businesses and residents located within the downtown flood plain. Barriers have been staged at numerous locations around the city to aid first responders in the process of road closures due to flooding. Public Works crews were put into teams and assigned heavy equipment to be easily deployed to affected areas so that roads can reopened as quickly as possible, should flooding occur. They can also assist emergency responders in clearing debris, as needed.
Hot Springs firefighters and police officers will be staffing extra personnel during the storm to respond to emergency situations that are common during storms of this magnitude. The HSFD has also activated the department’s Swift Water Rescue Team, which has been divided into two groups: a Swift Water Boat Team and a Rescue Swimmer Team.