11/13/2012 - Southbury's Response to Storm Sandy

Southbury has successfully weathered Hurricane Sandy and CL&P restored power to our last two households this past Monday. When compared with many other communities in the northeast that were harder hit, we have been very fortunate.

Our efforts to keep our community and personnel safe while we restored power and cleared roads has been our highest priority. Due to the hard work of so many people we have been successful with only one known injury – a homeowner’s accident with a chainsaw. Sometimes our focus on personal safety may seem to residents as slowing down the restoration work, but it is always my highest priority.

This would not have been possible without the hard work and cooperation of so many organizations working through our Emergency Operations Center. Our public works department, especially our road crew, worked continuously in the early days to get the roads that were completely blocked open for emergency vehicles. They could not have done this without the close cooperation of the different crews assigned to Southbury by CL&P. All of this was done under the direction of Jim Sugden of our Public Works department and our CL&P liaison. They were a model of public-private collaboration. They were greatly assisted by our Information Technology Manager, Ray Mather, who provided the software and hardware that allowed all parties involved to know what roads were blocked or partially blocked. We also shared this information with Charter so their crews knew what roads they could travel on to make their repairs. The “make-safe” portion of this work involved CL&P linemen to assure the power lines were de-energized so the tree crews could clear the downed limbs. Working through the night, and with the help of our Fire Department, who provided lighting, all of this work was accomplished in time for school to reopen on Thursday. Once all the roads were cleared, the emphasis shifted to restoration of power and repair of circuits throughout town.

Other critical roles in our Emergency Operations Center included ensuring that shelters and comfort stations were made available, staffed and supplied with cots, food and water. The Pomperaug District Department of Health, Region 15 School District, the Red Cross, our Social Services, Elderly Services and Parks and Recreation staffs worked together to make this happen.

And foremost on our minds, we wanted to inform as many residents as possible of what was being done, what services were available and where to go for additional information or help. Many took the time during and after the storm to let us know how much they appreciated all the Code Red messages and the postings on our website and Facebook. As always, we invite comments and suggestions on how to improve communications during emergency events. Please direct any suggestions you may have to the First Selectman’s office at 203-262-0647.

The Southbury Volunteer Fire Department, working in conjunction with various other agencies and departments in town, has prepared an informational brochure on safety during and after a storm event, including generator operation guidelines, food spoilage issues, etc., and will be distributing them throughout town. This is yet another example of how well these organizations work together for the betterment of our Town of Southbury. They all deserve a big THANK YOU!

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Southbury's Roads After Storm Sandy