The Orange Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was open Monday, July 30, as representatives from the Police, fire, highway, and health departments, OVNA, UI, CERT and Emergency Management team all came together at the Orange Police Department to take part in a realistic statewide drill. SEE VIDEO HERE.
The exercise involved every city and town in Connecticut (some participated on Saturday and Sunday) others on Monday and Tuesday.
The scenario was a Category 3 Hurricane that originated in Africa, bearing down on the Nutmeg State.
Each EOC took directions from the state, receiving updates, and localized information in real time.
On a pull down video screen, the entire room could see everything that was posted on the computer, including incoming e-mail and what level of preparedness different areas of the state were under at any given time.
Everyone discussed different options, evacuation plans, strike team organization and other necessary information as each became pertinent to the operation.
Everyone took the drill, and their role in public safety seriously, but there were a couple of chuckles during a conference call when every person on the other end of the line began and ended his or her spiel with, “This is a drill.”
The purpose of the exercise was to ensure that every state in CT was prepared to jump into action if a disaster struck.
Orange had an excellent program in place last year during Hurricane Irene, which hit land as a tropical storm, but still took down hundreds of trees all around town and left some residents in the dark for more than a week.
The most important thing that residents can do is prepare themselves to be self sufficient for 7-10 days or longer. The emergency shelter at High Plains will be open but it won’t do you any good if you can’t get out of your house or neighborhood due to dangerous conditions.
Since Hurricane Season has already begun, now is as good a time as any to put a survival kit together.
Purchase a large plastic tote container that will keep everything dry in the event of flooding.
Start packing it now, little by little with canned goods, and a can opener (very important), a first aid kit, sunscreen, disposable utensils and paper plates, 2 or 3 working flashlights with spare batteries, a wind up or battery operated radio with spare batteries, protein rich snacks like nuts to keep you full in the event that you are stranded for a long time. Non perishable items, at least one gallon of water per person per day. Be sure to have food and water for your pets too.
Fill your bath tub with water, not for bathing, but so that you can flush your toilet if water supply is interrupted.
Fill your propane tank for a gas grill for cooking.
Get a generator before they all sell out. If anyone in your home relies on electrical medical equipment such as an oxygen machine you should invest in a generator. Notify the UI and VNA before the storm arrives so they are aware of your situation
Don’t forget to take cash out of the bank ahead of time. The ATMs at your bank will not work if there is no power.