The Susquehanna Hose Company has staffed its five firehouses and mobilized two swift water rescue teams in preparation for Hurricane Sandy, according to Chief Scott Hurst.
In addition, the Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps may move one of its ambulances to the Hose Company on Juniata Street so it has access to downtown.
“When the whole county gets this much rain, there are going to be flooding issues,” Hurst said.
There could be 5 to 10 inches of rain east of I-95, according to the National Weather Service, which issued a flood watch for Harford County effective Sunday evening through Tuesday.
“We’ve been through several hurricanes and tropical storms and flooding events over the last 25 years, so we’ve certainly prepared,” Hurst said. “We even sent 50 people through extra training this year for swift water urban training in May.”
Approximately 60 people will be on duty for the Hose Company, said Hurst; in addition, one swift water team will be stationed in Havre de Grace and another in Abingdon.
During the next few days, Hurst anticipated a spike in activity for the Susquehanna Hose Company. “I expect around 50 to 100 calls," said Hurst, who added that on an average day, the Hose Company receives two calls for service. "We’ll be very busy.”
Fretrucks will have a little more gear than usual.
“I stocked my firetrucks today with life vests and certain things [for floods] that you normally wouldn’t have…just in case,” Hurst said Saturday.
No matter what path the storm takes, there is one way citizens can help public safety officials.
“Do not drive your car through standing or swift water,” Hurst said. “A lot of calls we get are people are trying to go through water and the car stalls. If the road looks flooded, do not drive through it. It will save us time.”
The fire chief advised the public to listen to emergency notifications from Harford County and Havre de Grace, which will be calling and alerting citizens as needed about closures and evacuations, if needed.
“Please adhere to those,” Hurst said. In the meantime, he continued: “We’re ready now, just waiting for the storm to hit….”