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Letter: Stay Safe During Storms, Wilton

WILTON, Conn. — The following is a letter from Wilton Police Chief Michael Lombardo on how to keep safe and informed during future storms.

The region has experienced two major storms in recent months, and Wilton has not been precluded from the effects of them. In each storm, many residents were without power for seven or more days as town Department of Public Works crews worked tirelessly to clear roads of fallen trees and CL&P restored power. The thought of being without power for such a long period of time can be daunting. The best way to prepare for such an event is to preplan.

Several years ago, the town of Wilton published and circulated an emergency preparedness guide. The guide explains how residents can prepare for emergencies and how to keep your home safe. In any emergency, you should remain calm and patient.

If possible, utilize all media outlets at your disposal for newsworthy information to assist you in planning and monitoring what is occurring and how the town is working to assist the community. At times, the town will open its shelter and provide housing and food to those in need. During both of the recent storms, Hurricane Irene and the pre-Halloween snowstorm, the town operated the shelter for the first time in many years.

The town also opened the Emergency Operations Center and coordinated its efforts of street clearing and power restoration from the center. Many decisions affecting residents and the response of emergency and work crews were made and then communicated through our established phone hotline and the Code Red system.

For those without power and unable to receive Code Red messages or call the hotline, the town posted hardcopy updates at many locations in Wilton Center that provided information on the status of power restoration.

I encourage each resident to register their home phone and as many cell phones as they wish in the Code Red system. You will receive updated emergency messages as they become available. You can register by going to thetown’s website, wiltonct.org, and clicking on the Code Red icon. You can sign up for an email or text messages in addition to the voice message that is sent.

Keeping safe during an emergency lasting in duration requires preplanning. In the town’s emergency preparedness guide there are many suggested manners in which you and your family can preplan. This guide, if you do not already have one is available on the town website. The guide recommends that you have smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, maintenance and testing. Treat all alarms as if they are real. 

We cannot control natural disasters but we can prepare for them before they occur. Make certain your emergency supply kit is current and ready for use.   

Keeping safe during storm related power outages, as with any other time, also includes securing your homes and vehicles to prevent access. Remove valuables and lock your vehicles when you park them. Many times, there have been vehicles parked at residents’ homes and public parking areas and they are opened easily because they were not locked. Securing them and removing valuable items takes very little effort and may save you the expense and aggravation of replacement. As always, please report suspicious activity to the police department immediately. 

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