More Equipment Available for Emergency Response

by Paul Sestito

This article was published in the spring 2024 issue of our newsletter.

During the July 2023 flooding, VT WARN’s two emergency response trailers experienced their first official deployments. While the trailers and the equipment on them were certainly useful, we also found that we needed some additional equipment. We have since added a number of items to our inventory so the trailers will be even better equipped for the next emergency.

The two emergency response trailers

A man stands on a lawn next to a red hydrant

Equipment in the drinking water trailer

The 12-foot trailers were purchased in 2022 with a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the Vermont Department of Health to VT WARN. One trailer contains equipment focused on drinking water and the other has equipment focused on wastewater.

Perhaps the biggest new addition to our water trailer was over 500 feet of 2.5-inch potable water hose, along with a number of fittings and tools for making hydrant-to-hydrant or potable water garden hose connections, as well as flow testing devices. This will allow for the temporary restoration of water service in the event of damage to a water main or service line.

Another item that was added was an inflatable raft and personal flotation devices. We had the opportunity to test the raft and I was impressed at how quickly we were able to set it up. It is very rugged and maneuverable and will be an asset in a flood situation.

One thing that stood out to me during the flood response was the exhaustion that responders experienced working long days in tough conditions. To that end, we’ve added some simple comforts such as fold-up chairs and shade canopies.

After the flooding, the trailers themselves proved useful as office space, lab space, or storage space when flooded-out buildings could not be safely occupied.

The trailers have variety of battery-operated tools and equipment, and this inventory will probably continue to grow. Currently, we have a valve exerciser, small portable pumps for dewatering small structures such as meter pits, and other equipment such as chainsaws for debris removal. We stocked up on portable lighting as well.

The original equipment on the trailers includes ground penetrating radar units, portable correlators, a valve and hydrant exerciser, a tilt-and-pan sewer line camera, safety equipment, hand tools, and personal protective equipment (ppe).

This equipment is available for use by members of VT WARN—the water and wastewater mutual aid network—at any time. If you are interested in touring the trailers or using the equipment, please contact Vermont Rural Water. We highly encourage all water and wastewater systems to become a member of VT WARN. It is free to join at