The recent incident in which Hawaiians were terrified when an alert about an incoming missile was mistakenly disseminated is an extreme example of how ill-prepared we can be in the face of a disaster. And while this was extreme — with little time to respond in any meaningful way — it is a stark reminder for us to take stock and think about the ways we can be prepared for the disasters most likely to befall us.
To that end, it was good news to hear that Georgetown Village Restoration Inc. plans to create a resource guide to be used in emergencies. It will be relevant to the four towns to which Georgetown belongs: Wilton, Ridgefield, Redding, and Weston.
Disaster guides are available online from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the state Department of Emergency Services, and the Red Cross, but this will be a local guide that, if all goes well, will drill down to local resources. During the December-January cold snap we had, which was the impetus for creating the guide, Facebook pages were full of people seeking plumbers and others who could help with freezing pipes and failing heating systems.
The fire department is continually warning residents to have a family plan in case of a house fire. A simple plan, reviewed on a regular basis, can save precious minutes when every second counts.
This brings up a second issue that affects Wilton’s own emergency services. The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps will offer emergency medical technician (EMT) training classes beginning Feb. 20. This is a huge commitment on the part of anyone willing to volunteer for the good of their town, but it is probably the most vital.
While every firefighter is an EMT and police officers are EMRs (emergency medical responders), those services are not a replacement for the ambulance corps. With the exception of paid EMTs who staff headquarters during the day, Wilton’s ambulance corps is manned by volunteers. These are the people who will help you if you are in a car accident or experience a medical emergency anywhere in town. The town provides very little funding to the ambulance corps, and to make this a municipal service would add significantly to the town budget.
Please consider joining this dedicated team. What better way to spend some free time than by perhaps saving a life?