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With help from federal grant funding, Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue which operates in Washington County, Oregon, (along with the Portland and Gresham Fire Departments), outfitted their HazMat Vehicles with Orion™ weather monitoring equipment from Columbia Weather Systems.
TVF&R made use of their new vehicle-mounted weather station in a HazMat Drill in Sherwood. The simulated scenario was a tanker truck carrying nitric acid involved in a vehicle accident. Using their weather data, the HazMat team was able to predict a toxic plume to help manage their response and protect team members from potential contamination.
After the drill we received the following letter:
Recently, our Regional Hazmat Team upgraded our weather station to the Orion Apparatus-Mounted System from Columbia Weather. We also purchased the portable Orion Nomad™ System for use at remote locations as well. We are now able to receive “Live” accurate weather data to use with the ALOHA Air Plume modeling program. Having “Live” weather data is vital to our operation, since it is one of the major factors determining the magnitude of a major release or spill.
Our team likes the easy to set up system we helped design with Columbia Weather. We can deploy either Orion Weather System within minutes after arriving on scene. All the weather instruments are contained within one unit with the Orion system. There are no moving parts which make the system virtually “Fire Fighter Proof"!
More importantly, the Weather Master software is very easy to use. We can see instant weather data on our office mounted display screen or use it with our Air Plume program with the touch of a button. The software automatically runs in conjunction with ALOHA and MARPLOT. Plumes automatically update with weather changes.
Thanks Columbia Weather for all the help getting our system up and running. We look forward to working with you to further expand the scope of weather data we can receive and use from our system.
Lt. Dave Pearson
Member of Oregon State Fire Marshall's Office Hazmat Team #9
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Above: Lt. Dave Pearson quickly sets up the Orion VM weather sensor module on their roof-mount mast, and then gets to work using weather data to plot the spread of the contaminant.
Below: The crew suits up and attends to the accident.