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Newtown Square Fire Co. Recaps Response Activities From Irene

Newtown Square's first responders were busy during the storm when the hurricane hit the region.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–"While some area residents were trying to ignore the sounds of the wind and the rain, the emergency service providers in Newtown Square were busy," said James Biddle, the public information officer for the .

Biddle said the wind and rain during the storm caused for downed wires, utility pole fires and other

However, even when the wind and rain had subsided, Biddle said it did not end the calls of the fire company volunteers.

"Long before the local weather began to show any indications of the anticipated storm, a series of text message were being exchanged between members of the Newtown Square Fire Co.," said Biddle.

He continued, "The first of these intra-company communications asked the local firefighters to contact Lt. Eric Harper and aid him in assembling the roster of available crew members for upcoming storm-related activities."

Like in many cases of emergency storm-related situations, overall inspections were made to the fire vehicles and special transportation tools needed during these situations.

According to Biddle, the largest number of dispatched calls made were those that were in the category of "wires, transformers – with hazards."

The high priority of service calls made during Hurricane Irene were those that included water that threatened below ground utility usage, such as house electricity distribution panels and pilot lights on heat and water heaters.

The fire company also received many calls from concerned residents about their homes or of a relative who lived in town.

The rain and accompanying wind created serious conditions for driving and all outdoor activities as well as bringing a collection of challenges. But by Sunday, the storm had passed through and emergency calls were reduced, said Biddle.

Newtown Square Fire Chief Doug Simpson stressed that very few people realize that when the pace of calls is reduced, the firefighters are not yet able to relax.

He explained, “It is during these post-response times that the firefighters were busy with the restoration of the apparatus for service to make any needed repairs to assure they will be ready for the next call.”

Although the storm is over, county officials are reminding residents to call their townships to file damage reports.

"It's very important for residents to quickly file damage reports with their local governments," said PEMA (Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency) Director Glenn Cannon. "Teams of local,
county, state and federal staffers are busy doing preliminary damage
assessments, but it's not possible for them to inspect every damaged
property so we need the public's help."

According to PEMA, each municipality is responsible for collecting damage reports from residents and reporting them to counties for submission to PEMA, who in turn compiles the totals and forwards them to federal officials to be considered as part of the state's request for a federal disaster declaration.

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