Response to monster monsoon required massive 'coordination' - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Response to monster monsoon required massive 'coordination'

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Kevin Kalkbrenner, director of Phoenix's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, could tell what the Valley was in for soon after an 11 a.m. Tuesday update from the National Weather Service.

"There were two major cells," Kalkbrenner explained. "One was converging on Laveen and the South Mountain area. The other one had already set itself up north," he added.

Basically, he had little time to act.

"If we don't get into a group where we can work together and figure this out, we're gonna be competing for resources," Kalkbrenner said.

Housed in city hall, Kalkbrenner activated the "Tactical Operations Center, or TOC. It's a central location for virtually any operational honcho from across the Valley.

"You're talking street superintendents, airport operations personnel, etcetera," Kalkbrenner said.

Officials in the TOC were in constant contact with crews in the field fighting the flooding. Information from those crews was then handed over to TOC coordinators every 45 minutes. Finally, those update were communicated to city leaders.

"It gives us real time situational awareness," Kalkbrenner explained. "So if we have to make different decisions we can do that."

But Wednesday, rescue crews also faced a number of nail-biting rescues, not just flooded washes and streets.

"The fire operations chief was looking to make sure the rest of the city was covered and they were shifting companies," Kalkbrenner said.

He couldn't recall any injuries after Tuesday's drama. But don't expect any ego stroking. The focus now is doing it even better the next time.

"One of the things we're gonna try to do a better job of is being able to report in to our Tactical Operations Center real-time road closures and get those out to our PIO [Public Information Officer]," Kalkbrenner said.

Phoenix emergency management officials have transitioned from coordinating storm response to storm recovery.

Kalkbrenner explained, "We're trying to get a handle on who was affected and what their needs are."

Following Tuesday's monster monsoon, Kalkbrenner has dispatched volunteers with the Community Emergency Response Team, or C.E.R.T., to the hardest hit areas like, "New River, Anthem and then down into northern Phoenix," Kalkbrenner added.

You'll likely see them with the Red Cross driving through storm ravaged areas passing out clean up kits and water.

"The C.E.R.T. team is out with them doing damage assessments."

Officials have little time to help the public recover. The next storm could put the water-logged Valley right back here.

"A basic rainstorm is now going to get us into that."

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