This past Tuesday, a dust storm unlike any other hit the Phoenix area, obscuring the sun and pretty much everything else. In its wake it left downed trees, power outages, and a thick layer of dust over everything.
Dust storms are not uncommon in our area during the monsoon season (roughly June through September), but this one left even life-long residents in awe.
Deemed a haboob (which in Arabic means “strong wind”), this dust storm was estimated to be around 5,000 feet high and up to 100 miles wide, reaching speeds of 50 miles-per-hour.
This storm also traveled an unusually long distance, around 150 miles from where it originated near Tucson.
Phoenix residents had plenty of warning that the storm was on its way, but it never hurts to remember that we need to be prepared – for another haboob, a major thunderstorm, or whatever other disaster, natural or not, may strike.
The importance of being prepared in an emergency applies to businesses as well as individuals.
For example, Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix had to shut-down for approximately 45 minutes during the haboob. That meant delaying flight take-offs and re-routing flights scheduled to land in Phoenix. They also had to deal with the unexpected occurrence of having the smoke alarms go off in the baggage claim area due to the dust blowing in through the doors.
Any business, regardless of what line of work it is in, should have an emergency preparedness plan. This is extra important for businesses that are tasked with the protection of public health and safety.
This issue has come up most recently in this blog by way of nuclear facility safety – during earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding and wildfires.
Our business helps organizations stay aware of, and therefore be prepared for, changes in regulations that are put into place to help them remain safe.
The haboob was a great big dusty reminder of why it is important to always have your eyes open to safety and to know what to do when something unexpected happens.