“Our employees and their safety are critical to our success,” said Tampa Bay Water Safety Services Manager Dawn McMahon, COSS, COSM. “This year, with the novel coronavirus, we’ve made adjustments to our shelter-on-site plans to protect essential workers.”
The agency stocks extra face masks and hand sanitizer, individually packaged food, and prepares sleeping and eating quarters that accommodate social distancing for our primary responders to keep them safe during the pandemic.
During and After a Storm
When a hurricane is approaching the area, Tampa Bay Water goes into full emergency operations mode. Employees are first given the opportunity to secure their homes and families, beginning with primary responders. Then, staff is placed into teams and shifts for work before, during and after a storm. We switch our facilities over to generators before a storm to help keep drinking water flowing in the event commercial power is lost.
We establish our Emergency Operation Center and follow an Incident Command System (ICS) that provides clearly defined roles and responsibilities for employees responding to emergencies. Our command system is similar to and communicates with other unified command centers within Florida. This chain of command, along with comprehensive checklists, helps all employees to know what to do in virtually every foreseeable instance. Our checklists outline activities that we perform 72, 48 and 24 hours before landfall and well into the recovery phase.
After a storm passes, primary responders go home, and remaining employees return to work to assess any damage the storm may have caused, complete water testing and coordinate our recovery efforts with our member governments, other utilities and communities needing assistance.
These preparations ensure our members, and the more than 2.5 million customers they serve, can count on Tampa Bay Water.