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As Sandy Strikes, Strike Teams Jump Into Action

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Oct 292012
 

Strike Team vehicles in the Turkey Hill School parking lot on Monday morning.

The Orange Fire, Police, and Highway Departments and Orange CERT have been busy all day. As the winds picked up the Strike Teams took their places at strategic locations around town.

By 6 p.m. each one had been called out at least once for fallen trees, elderly assistance, a brush fire, several transformer fires, a tree into a house, and at least one medical call.

Strike teams, consisting of a police officer, public works employee, a fire officer and firefighters will be stationed at different locations where they will wait to be deployed to any life threatening emergencies that my arise during the storm.

The Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is located at the Orange Police Station and Asst. Fire Chief Charlie Sherwood is fielding all fire department related calls.

The EOC Team keeps an updated map of the town with each of the areas where trees are down, or roads are impassable for any reason, so when a team is dispatched they can be given the fastest route to avoid any obstacles.

When they are sent on a call the public works employee will be able to clear the road of any fallen trees etc, as long as wires are NOT involved, making way so the police officer and firefighters can do their jobs.

Firefighters were directed NOT to enter flooded areas and fast running water in their turn-out gear, rather they are to wear water rescue suits and use rope to tether themselves together for safety sake.

The strike teams assembled at their designated posts this morning before the brunt of the storm arrived.

They were told that their own families are their first priority, and if it is necessary they may bring their spouses, children, parents to a firehouse or the emergency shelter at High Plains Community Center.

Each firefighter was advised to bring enough extra clothing to last three days and to pack a bag with water and snack foods in case they are delayed at a call for at extended period of time.

It is not safe for a fire truck to be out in high winds over 50 MPH, so the strike teams are not going out at the height of the storm for a little bit of water in a basement or downed wires. Those calls will have to wait until the majority of the storm is over.

The teams will be dispatched to fires, a tree that’s fallen on a house that is endangering someone’s safety, a car accident with injuries, etc.

If you have a true emergency, call 203-891-2130 or 911.

Several residents and their pets have come to the Orange Emergency Shelter at High Plains Community Center. Generators provide guaranteed electricity and heat there. You may shower, charge your cell phones, laptops, batteries, etc. Cots are available and the volunteers are there to assist you. If you don’t feel safe at home, but are afraid to leave call the police department at 203-891-2130 and if it is safe, a strike team may be able to come and get you.