Old Lyme weighs response to storms

Old Lyme - Ambulance, fire, public works and emergency management officials, among other town representatives, weighed ideas Wednesday for storm preparedness after Superstorm Sandy.

Officials held the post-storm meeting to discuss the pre-planning, response and recovery stages of the storm, said Emergency Management Director David Roberge. Utility and phone company representatives also attended.

The town has held response meetings after previous storms, including Tropical Storm Irene.

During the meeting Wednesday, First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder recommended initiatives such as installing the Reverse 911 system to send messages to residents during storms. The system is a proposed capital improvement item for the 2013-14 town budget.

Reemsnyder also suggested the town designate a month to emergency preparedness. During that month, officials could help residents with steps such as registering them for CT Alerts, a state-administered notification system, she said. Officials could also continue building up a database of residents, including the elderly and residents with special needs who may need assistance during the storm, she explained.

Town representatives at the meeting addressed the significant structural and water damage that Superstorm Sandy inflicted on coastline homes. John Flower, the assistant building official during the storm, said after assessing all houses in town, he could describe the type of house damage to homeowners calling from out of town. He said the town, with assistance from Connecticut Light & Power, removed electrical meters from about 277 houses, which experienced damage including saltwater inundation, to prevent potential fires during power restoration.

Representatives also stressed continuing to plan at the earliest signs that a storm might hit the area.

"It won't harm us if the storm misses us," Selectwoman Mary Jo Nosal said. "It'll only make us stronger."


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