From Town Hall: Are you prepared?

Wilton has been walloped by several major storms in recent years! In 2011, two powerful storms demonstrated that power outages can occur that last for many days. As was reported, some residents in the central part of the state were without power for 10 to 11 days! In such cases, regional food and water supply shortages may develop quickly.

As I write this article, many citizens in the Boulder, Colo., area are coping with the aftermath of unanticipated torrential rains and flooding that have left many homeless or isolated without adequate water or food supplies.

Therefore, the time to act is now — to be ready. Are you prepared?

During the last several months, Connecticut and municipal officials organized emergency management drills in a continuing effort to improve operational readiness and response capabilities.

In June, Connecticut conducted a statewide Severe Weather Exercise. All municipalities participated in this exercise, which included opening local emergency operations centers.

In July, the town of Wilton conducted a review of our emergency operations procedures and updated 72-, 48- and 24-hour pre-storm check lists for all departments.  Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) management also participated in this emergency management preparations meeting.

The town has also redesigned and upgraded display panels and emergency vehicle tracking systems in our Emergency Operations Center, which will provide real-time data to enable more effective emergency assistance and response decisions by town officials. In early October, a press conference will be held to demonstrate the town’s new emergency management resources.

In late August, a follow-up meeting was held with CL&P, AT&T and Cablevision management to review emergency management response procedures, operational contacts and communications. In addition, approximately 100 CERT members participated in a disaster training drill this month to allow CERT members from different towns to work together, practice first aid skills and test radio communications.

So once again, Town of Wilton officials urge all citizens to do just three things to help be prepared for a serious community storm emergency:

1. Visit the town website and click on “Emergency Preparedness Info” on the home page. When the emergency preparedness page opens, click on the orange “Emergency Preparedness Guide” in the upper right corner. This guide will provide valuable emergency planning information.

2. In the guide, go to page 18 “Emergency Supplies Checklist.” To ensure self-reliance, every household should have on hand at least three days (and preferably seven days) of non-perishable packaged or canned food and water for each person in the household unit.

3. If you have not signed up for CODE RED emergency notifications, please visit the town website, click on the CODE RED icon on the left side of the home page and follow the instructions.

While the Town of Wilton continuously works to improve its emergency planning and preparations, town officials also encourage citizens to help by making their own emergency preparations. Preparedness is a shared responsibility; it takes a whole community to act.  Please don’t wait another day. If you have not prepared sufficiently, add this task to the top of your “TO DO” list.

State officials and emergency management officials have all indicated that our area is overdue for another major storm and “hurricane season” is already upon us.

Take action now! Be ready! Start by asking yourself — are you prepared?