Lynchburg First Responders: 'Ready' for Sandy
Lynchburg, VA - Everyone from the 911 Center, firefighters and police officers are bracing for possible power outages and wind damage.
Emergency officials in Lynchburg spent the day on conference calls with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management wading through the latest information.
The information that they're getting is that conditions will get worse overnight and the main concern is power.
Lynchburg's 911 center is fully staffed in case the call center lights up.
"The storm hasn't really impacted us yet so we're not receiving any calls about that right now," said Melissa Foster, Communications Director of the 911 Center.
But as Sandy barrels down, the greatest concern centers around power.
Dominion Power estimates the high winds and heavy rain could leave up to 1 million Virginians in the dark, making it the worst power outage on record.
"We certainly encourage all residents to take this storm very seriously. I think if people remember from June, this is something that has the potential to have a lot of the same effects," warned Capt. Ryan Zuidema with the Lynchburg Police Department.
"That's our biggest concern is if we lose power, wanting folks to make sure that they either have alternative ways to heat or that they have somewhere else that they can go," added Melissa Foster.
Less of an issue for our area is flooding. But the Lynchburg Fire Department has stocked up on generators and inflated rescue boats. They're ready to deploy to other areas of the state if needed.
"We have a technical rescue team within the department that responds to many types of emergencies, whether it be rope rescue, hang out structural collapse, trench, combined space. But we also do water rescue," explained Fire Chief Brad Ferguson.
When it comes to public safety: preparation is key and mother nature is the one wild card. Over the next 48 hours, Sandy's superstorm will test both.