Fireground Safety, Health & Safety, Natural Disasters

Sinkhole Proves Need for “All Hazard” Response

Issue 3 and Volume 171.

BY SCOTT M. CASSIN   Sinkholes are a relatively ­common occurrence throughout the United States, with those causing the most damage occurring in Florida and other states throughout the South and Midwest. A sinkhole occurs when naturally occurring groundwater flowing through soluble bedrock dissolves the rock layer below the surface, causing the soil above to sink or collapse, forming a depression. Although this is a fairly common and usually minor incident, incident readiness to an enlarging sinkhole tests the very foundation of an “all-hazard” fire service response. Pasco County, Florida, lies in “Sinkhole Alley,” encompassing Pasco, Hernando, and Hillsborough counties in the Tampa Bay region of west central Florida, so responding to a sinkhole is a common call. Pasco County Fire Rescue (PCFR) receives several calls per year through its emergency communications center to respond to a potential sinkhole and to evaluate the conditions found. Once assessed, these sinkholes are…

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