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WPB Fire Department hopes to make city wide changes before next year's hurricane season

Posted at 6:28 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-20 14:17:22-04

Emergency crews are starting to head back to our area after helping with recovery efforts in the Florida Panhandle, and they are arriving home with invaluable lessons they plan to use here.

West Palm Beach Asst. Fire Chief Brent Bloomfield said one of the biggest takeaways while helping with recovery efforts was the evacuation process.

On Friday he talked with the city manager to discuss ways to help vulnerable neighborhoods in West Palm Beach prepare to evacuate ahead of a storm.

“There was up to a 30-foot storm surge and if you kind of think of that here and what that means for us in the city and along the coast here the barrier islands are 30 feet high so if you think about what the water would do to that we have to plan for that and we have to plan for that now,” said Bloomfield.

Another lesson Bloomfield said the emergency strike team learned was how to tackle search and recovery efforts. In the Panhandle, cell service was down and many of the team's members were tasked with fielding welfare calls.

“So, they weren't able to get ahold of families and unable to get ahold of their friends and taking those wellness calls in and hearing those stories and hearing that those people were there. I’m looking at the map, and there’s no house -- it's gone. It's very tough, it’s very tough to hear those stories,” said Bloomfield.

It's unclear if and when changes are made when they will be released to the public.