The Orange Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was open Thursday, June 20, 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.
The exercise involved every city and town in Connecticut.
The scenario this week was a hurricane bearing down on Connecticut.
Each EOC took directions from the state, receiving updates, and localized information in real time.
Just like last year’s practice drill in July, the group went through the motions as if this was a real emergency.
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.
The purpose of the exercise was to ensure that every community in CT was prepared to jump into action if a disaster struck.
Orange had an excellent program in place during Hurricane Irene in August 2011, 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. That program, which includes strike teams and inter-departmental cooperation worked so well that it carried through to subsequent storms.
Orange also has a large trailer for animals that visit the shelter during a storm. The trailer can be transported to any other city or town if its shelter is open and they are in dire need of a place for pets. Many residents brought their four legged companions with them during last year’s storms and everyone was well taken care of.
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. Have it installed by a licensed electrician and do not run it inside the house or near vents or open windows.
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.