The Orange Emergency Management Team met at the Orange Police Department at 5 p.m. to discuss each town department’s plans, concerns, success stories and future strategies as the storm recovery continues.
Since this was not a public meeting, Orange Live was not present, but we caught up with Police Chief Robert Gagne afterward for an update.
As we have said on our Facebook Page, the temperatures are expected to plunge down into the low 30s on Friday, so the shelter at High Plains Community Center will remain open until it is no longer needed for this situation.
The hours for taking showers and using the charging stations has increased to 24/7 until further notice.
On Wednesday, the Highway Department opened several roads, but, Gagne said, there are still 15 roads still closed, 9 roads are passable but restricted. The road closures are due to wires being in the trees and the UI must make them safe (de-engergize the lines) before the highway department workers can come in.
“Tomorrow we hope to have all the roads open,” Gagne said. “Highway and UI are working together and several more “Make Safe” crews are coming in tomorrow.”
Residents can leave storm debris by the road in front of their homes and the Highway Department will pick it up. Please cut branches into 6-8-foot lengths, and only put out Storm Debris.
Gagne said, “At 2:45 p.m. the UI had 51 locations across town with wires down. By 6:35 p.m. that number was probably down, and residents can expect to see a bigger impact with more crews out there tomorrow.”
One of the biggest concerns with the Fire Department and OVNA was improperly used generators and the danger of CO poisoning.
According to Gagne, if you are using a generator keep it outside (not in a garage or up against to the house) about 20-25 feet away from the house to keep the exhaust fumes from infiltrating the way into your home.
The fire department has responded to two fires that resulted from generators being placed too close to wood surfaces — one on a deck, the other that was surrounded by a protective enclosure.
As always, be careful about candles, do not use candles or camp lanterns in the home for light, never leave an open flame unattended. Use flashlights with batteries.
The police scheduled extra patrols for Halloween, but since that holiday has been postponed until Nov. 7, the extra patrols will remain on duty for other safety reasons.
Gagne asks that everyone please remain patient as the line crews try to restore electricity to everyone.
There is no school on Thursday or Friday.
If you haven’t signed up for the emergency notification system announcements, it’s never too late, and if you have relatives in other towns you also can opt in for notifications from those towns as well.
Regarding the shelter, Gagne said, “God Bless CERT, they are such dedicated people and they are doing a great job, as are Carol Nardini and her staff at Human Services and Maria Biondi from the OVNA.”
The UI put out the following statement:
Stay clear of, and Keep pets and children far away from dangling power lines and anything that might be touching them.
If you smell natural gas, call the SCGC at 1-800-513-8898
If you see a downed power line call the UI at 1-800-722-5584