Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

4.3 Focus

Questions were asked regarding the focus at the beginning of the evacuation, during the evacuation and after the evacuation. The purpose of the questions was to determine how the focus of an incident changes as the incident evolves. Predominately, the focus at the beginning of the evacuation was getting the residents out of harm’s way and making sure the public was safe.

During the evacuation, the focus varied depending on the position of the interviewee. Responses varied from:
  • Concern with elderly residents who did not have a way out of the evacuation zone – GVW Fire Department
  • On-going concern with the safety of the residents and employees at Avondale Mills – Aiken County Sheriff’s Office; people who passed out and could not evacuate – GVW Fire Department
  • Transportation of people to the hospital with symptoms of respiratory problems – Aiken County Emergency Services.
After the evacuation, responses varied from:
  • Animal rescue from the evacuation zone – GVW Fire Department
  • Closing of schools in the area – Aiken County Sheriff’s Office
  • Making sure everyone was accounted for – GVW Fire Department
  • Review of a need to extend the evacuation zone due to the overturned tanker car and possibility of an additional release. However, the Coast Guard Strike Team convinced local officials that the 1-mile zone was sufficient – Aiken County Emergency Services
  • Search and recovery from the four textile facilities. There were reported deaths within the facilities – GVW Fire Department.

February 6, 2006
Publication #FHWA-HOP-08-014