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June 01, 2016   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Bonnie’s Rain Ushers in the Pain of the 2016 Hurricane Season. What About the Clean Up?

So what has to be done in the aftermath of a major storm event? Clean up! And powerful diesel equipment and machines are the top-of mind resources to quickly and safety restore neighborhoods and communities.

Memorial Day weekend was a fresh reminder to coastal regions that the hurricane and storm watch season is here and now. Tropical storm Bonnie racked the Southeastern U.S. with rain, rain and more rain – over 8-10 inches over a 72 hour period. Before, during and after the storms hit, resources must be put in place to preserve public health and safety, to render aid and help restore communities.

Whether it is high-tired vehicles like stake body trucks, National Guard M35 Transport Vehicles or fire engines, all of these heavy-duty units have ground clearance to go through at least some levels of standing water in city streets to rescue stranded residents and motorists or to assist in evacuation. All of these units use powerful diesel engines that are very fuel efficient to keep running long hours and strong enough to meet the demands of these unique situations, unlike some passenger vehicles which can start floating in as little as six inches of water! Don’t be a victim. Remember: Turn around, don’t drown! 

So what has to be done in the aftermath of a major storm event? Clean up! And powerful diesel equipment and machines are the top-of mind resources to quickly and safety restore neighborhoods and communities. That’s why equipment dealers and rental agencies are inundated with requests for a variety of tools and technology to keep the power on and clean up water and debris in the aftermath. Many have contracts with local governments to supply machines and equipment on an emergency basis.  Here’s a quick look at a few of the most popular machines and equipment you’re likely to see in use.

Generators and Portable Lights: Equipment rental outlets as well as engine and equipment dealers provide short and long term rentals and leases on electrical generators and tower light systems (basically a generator with lighting capabilities and some additional capacity for plug-in), and are typically inundated prior to a projected major storm event. Generators range in size from a consumer lawn mower engine sized units of 2-3kw powered by gasoline good for running a few small appliances, or a 5kW unit that may rent for up to $200 a week. Businesses need to consider essential loads in sizing generators and ensure that quick connect systems are already in place for rental power. Mobile units – generators or light towers - can be towed behind trucks are typically powered by diesel, these units provide enough power for small businesses such as service stations to keep operating even when electrical grid power is restored, or maintain lighting. These units range from $250 a day to over $1,000 a week, not including the electrical hook up costs. As always, safety first when selecting and operating a generator, storing fuel and refueling and being sure to place the generator outside and away from any open windows doors or vents. 

Material Handling Equipment: Skid steer loaders, backhoes, mini-excavators and wheel loaders are common sights in the clean up of the aftermath of storms that knock down trees, wash sand and debris into city streets and neighborhoods. These units all use powerful diesel engines and can be used to move and load debris, move materials, and lift smaller downed limbs. Trained operators are required for these machines, and pricing is based on size and length of rental contract. Backhoes may cost $250 and up per day while skid steer loaders with rubber tracks rent for $300 and up per day, while medium sized wheel loaders run $500 a day and up. 

Water Pumps: Clearing out the water is a first consideration after public health and safety, and there are many choices to get the job done. There are water pumps available for every need from de-watering basements or buildings to entire neighborhoods. Smaller units for households pump in the 50 to 100 gallons per minute, use gasoline and rent for $70 to $100 a day on average, while larger scale towable units are typically always powered by diesel engines can move 2400 gallons per minute.   If you’re lucky enough, in some rural areas, volunteer fire departments have responded to calls from residents and dispatch a unit with a bumper mounted pump to clear out a homeowner’s flooded basement in no time.  


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Ezra Finkin
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