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June 05, 2018   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Depend on Diesel for Hurricane Preparedness and Recovery

Because of its unique combination of power, performance, reliability and availability, no other technology or fuel can meet the full range of needs in responding to weather emergencies.

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In the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters, diesel-powered equipment immediately goes to work, aiding in rescue operations and clean up processes.


A fleet of mobile diesel-powered generators and fuel can be dispatched to quickly to restore electricity to mission critical centers like hospitals, shelters, communication towers and can also power water pumping stations.



June 1st was the unofficial start of the summer vacation season but it was also the official start of hurricane season which runs through the end of November. The 2017 hurricane season was particularly brutal. Seventeen storms unfolded between June 1 and November 30, 2017. Five Category 5 storms made landfall. Three Category 4 storms hit within a 26-day period. But it only takes one storm to change your life and community. Hurricanes, tornados, floods, earthquakes, severe thunderstorms and other extreme weather occurrences can devastate a community. 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.

MAINTAINING ELECTRICAL SUPPLY WHEN GRID POWER GOES OUT

Frequent weather-related disasters call attention to the vulnerability of the nation's electrical grid and the importance of continuous electrical power. Weather events and disasters, both large and small, cut off power to hundreds of thousands of people and businesses for days exposing the importance of emergency backup power as part of local, state and federal emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Interruptions of electrical power, even of short duration, create situations that could imperil public health and safety.

For decades, stationary and mobile diesel standby generators have proved their value during severe weather events. Diesel remains a technology of choice as it is the only technology to provide full electrical load within 10 seconds of grid failure and diesel fuel is widely available. For these reasons, diesel generators are frequently seen on roof tops of large buildings, as well as data centers, water and sewage facilities, fueling stations, communication centers, and other mission-critical facilities.

One of the unique benefits of diesel technology is its unmatched energy density that can be delivered to just about any location on the earth. A fleet of mobile diesel-powered generators and fuel can be dispatched to quickly to restore electricity to mission critical centers like hospitals, shelters, communication towers and can also power water pumping stations.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT

Rescue and recovery efforts during and after natural disasters reinforce the vital role of diesel power. Most Americans are unaware of the important role diesel technology plays in ensuring vital routine and emergency services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Nowhere is it more critical to have the ultimate performance and reliability than in fire and emergency vehicles, where diesel is the technology of choice. Because of its unique combination of power, performance, reliability and availability, large first responder vehicles including ambulances, firetrucks and mobile command centers are also powered by diesel and deliver mission critical services to communities after a weather emergency.

Diesel is also the technology of choice for most off-road equipment like excavators, bulldozers and loaders that will be responsible for moving debris and assist with clean-up – a necessary first step in the rebuilding process.

Ninety-eight percent of the Class 8 trucks that will deliver food and vital supplies to help feed, clothe and provide medical supplies to storm ravaged communities are powered by diesel.

PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY:  DRINKING AND WASTE WATER

Hospitals, data centers, water and sewage facilities, fueling stations, and communication and transportation systems require continuous power to protect public health and safety. The most critical applications such as keeping lifesaving equipment operating and climate control systems functioning at hospitals and ensuring drinking water, sewage treatment facility and storm water pumping stations stay in operation, depend on diesel power to provide reliable, immediate and full strength electric power when there is a failure of the primary power supply system, minimizing losses from these events. In the aftermath of a storm, public drinking water and wastewater treatment systems must be functional to protect public health and these typically have diesel generators on back-up.

EVACUATION & PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Diesel generators are also providing much more value in storm preparedness and resiliency. Many states susceptible to severe weather are now requiring or encouraging retail fuel locations to install emergency backup power capabilities to keep motorists along evacuation routes and also allow first responders to refuel in the event of a widespread power outage. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland adopted programs to better enable fuel retailers to keep fuel flowing to motorists and first responders by installing the necessary electrical switchgear to accept a mobile generator.

THE AFTER... RECOVERY AND REBUILDING

In the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters, diesel-powered equipment immediately goes to work, aiding in rescue operations and clean up processes.  It is diesel technology that powers the construction machines and equipment to clear debris and safety restore neighborhoods and communities, open roads, restore power and the clean-up of the devastated areas. Diesel's work continues as a partner in the rebuilding efforts.

Diesel machines, engines and equipment are a tested and proven partner in America's emergency preparedness and response systems. From powering the backup generators that give hospitals and operating rooms electricity within 10 seconds of a blackout to powering disaster-relief vehicles, diesel is a key player in protecting our public health and safety.

 



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Key Contact

Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy
efinkin@dieselforum.org
301-668-7230

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