Editorial: Down but not out

Many, many thanks are due to the town employees and volunteers who helped dig Wilton out of last week’s snowstorm, which came on the heels of an earlier storm only a few days before. Last week’s storm, which came on March 7, was much bigger and more destructive than the first or the one that just passed on Tuesday. Many people compared its destructive wake to that of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

The police department fielded 211 calls for service, many more than would normally be received over the course of the day of the storm and immediately after. The fire department doubled its shift from six firefighters to 12, who responded to between 60 and 70 calls in a 72-hour period. Because the fire trucks could not get through the many roads that were closed, a team of two firefighters carried tools and medical bags on a  four-wheel-drive pickup truck. In most cases they were able to get under the low-hanging debris. All Wilton firefighters are also EMTs.

This was a big help to the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, which responded to 20 calls from the start of the storm until the roads were clear and most power was restored. Like the fire trucks, the ambulance had difficulty navigating debris-strewn roads. During the height of the storm, volunteer EMTs answered one non-storm related call.

“While it took twice as long to get on scene, and twice as long to get the patient to the hospital for that call than it normally would have, the care the patient received was not at all impacted by the storm,” ambulance corps vice president Brian McDermott told The Bulletin. “Safe transport of a patient and our medical teams is something our drivers practice all the time, and if that means traveling at 10 mph from Wilton to Norwalk Hospital in a snowstorm, that’s what we will do.”

While power can never be restored quickly enough, Eversource crews — and crews brought in from other states — worked around the clock to repair vast amounts of damage. A look at some of the photos on our slide show at https://www.wiltonbulletin.com/?p=118731 shows what they were up against.

First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice kept residents informed with robo calls, and employees in the Department of Public Works and Parks and Grounds worked continuously to clear miles of clogged roads.

A big thanks to Wilton’s CERTs — members of the Community Emergency Response Team. Who wants to go out on a, literally, dark and stormy night to put up road closure signs? But they did, and we are grateful.

Finally, as all of the above have said, thank you to the residents of Wilton who endured cold, dark homes and kids home from school without wi-fi without losing it.