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Apr 28

3-2-2012 WEST LIBERTY KENTUCKY TORNADO

MARPLOT FOR SEARCH and RESCUE

3-2-2012 WEST LIBERTY KENTUCKY TORNADO

 

On March 2, 2012, a category F4 tornado struck the town of West Liberty , Kentucky .  One of the first outside assets arriving on-scene was the Lexington Fire Department Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team from Lexington , Kentucky .  Upon arrival in West Liberty , the team discovered that all Internet and cell phone service for the area had been disabled by the severe weather event. Battalion Chief Gregg Bayer, Lexington USAR team commander and Incident Operations Section Chief, was able to obtain a laptop computer from the local emergency manager during the initial operational period, which had MARPLOT installed with local map data and aerial photos included.  This allowed the USAR team to manage and document the initial search and rescue efforts by establishing map grids, plotting search areas, and tracking areas where searches had been concluded. MARPLOT was instrumental in establishing situational awareness, by utilizing tools, documenting suspected path(s) of destruction, population estimates and housing units. These were accurately predicted aiding in the development of the Incident Action Plan. Since MARPLOT capability includes display of aerial photography without Internet access, the team could create their own map information by drawing zones and map symbols “on top” of the Morgan County aerial photos.  After establishment of communications via satellite, the USAR team continued to utilize MARPLOT as their primary map tool for the duration of the event.

 

Gregg Bayer

Battalion Chief, Lexington KY Fire

bayerg@lexingtonky.gov