As we all know, winter weather can pose hazards – on the roads and at home – and we all need to be prepared for these and other emergencies. Recently, Woodbridge participated in an annual state-wide emergency preparedness exercise.
Under the guidance of the Police Department, our Town departments, the Woodbridge School District, the Amity Regional School District, Ezra Academy, the JCC, QVHD (our local Health Department), AMR and UI met to plan for a mock weather disaster. Here are a few important take-aways that you should know:
- Our Town personnel are trained and prepared. During an emergency, the Police Department activates the Emergency Operation Center (EOC), which functions as the command center for the duration of the emergency. If requested, United Illuminating will send a representative to our EOC. The Emergency Shelter, located in the Senior Center, is opened to the public. We are in close contact with our schools and I convene regular meetings with our Fire, Police and Public Works Department staff who works around the clock to provide critical safety functions for Woodbridge residents.
- Residents have an important role. It is recommended that residents be prepared to be stranded and without power (and for many of us without water) for three days. Please make sure that you have candles, flashlights, batteries, water, medicine, non-perishable food and extra blankets in an easily accessible location. You should keep the Town’s Emergency Preparation Guide (it includes a list of emergency phone numbers) in a convenient place. You can find a link to the guide on the Town’s website, near the bottom on the left.
- Restoration of power may vary depending on where you live. When trees block roadways and take down power lines, the first order of business is to make the roadways safe for emergency personnel. After that, United Illuminating begins to restore power in accordance with the Town’s priority list that includes the Police Station, Fire Department, Center Building (where our emergency shelter is located) and more.
Next, UI begins to restore power to residential areas starting with the most densely populated. If you live on a short or dead-end street or in a more sparsely populated area, you may be without power for a longer period of time. For updates from UI, sign up by visiting its website www.uinet.com.
- Communication before and during severe weather events is important! The Town will use its website (woodbridgect.org), Facebook page (Facebook.com/WoodbridgeCT), enewsletter (tinyurl.com/WoodbridgeEnews) and the reverse 911 phone system, CT Alert, to communicate with residents. But we can’t alert you if we can’t reach you.
The most reliable method of communication is generally the CT Alert phone system. If you have a landline, your phone number is already registered. You can add your cell phone, TTY device, email, text and/or fax by visiting www.ctalert.gov. You can receive emergency notifications about more than one location.
It is unfortunate, but weather emergencies are not the only disasters we may face. Here in Woodbridge we are careful to use the reverse 911 system only for emergencies. Please do not disregard communications from CT Alert.
By their very nature, emergencies are unpredictable, but we can be prepared. Woodbridge personnel are trained and committed to help and protect our residents if a disaster does strike. Please do your part by being prepared.