Friday, August 26, 2011

Emergency Information for Cheshire, Wallingford Announced As Hurricane Irene Heads Toward Connecticut

As residents in Cheshire and Wallingford make last-minute preparations to deal with Hurricane Irene, officials in the two communities have released their plans for dealing with the storm.

In Cheshire, the town’s primary shelter will be at the Senior Center, which is located at 240 Maple Ave. Town Manager Michael Milone (shown at left) said the shelter will open at 7 a.m. on Sunday.

If the number of people seeking shelter is great enough, Milone said a second shelter will open at Cheshire High School.

Wallingford has designated Sheehan High School, which is located at 142 Hope Hill Road, as the town’s emergency shelter. But as of Friday evening, town officials had not decided if or when the shelter would open.

None of the emergency shelters will be providing food, so residents are encouraged to bring a three-day supply of non-perishable foods and snacks.

In the event that you need to come to shelter, Wallingford officials offer this checklist of what to bring with you:

• Photo identification (Driver's License)

• Change of clothing

• Blankets

• Food & snacks, non-perishable, 3 day supply

• Sleeping bags

• Cell phone

• Pillows

• Flashlight & extra batteries

• Hygiene or sanitary products

• Battery powered radio & extra batteries

• Medications, prescription & over-the-counter

• Eyeglasses

• Entertainment (toys, books, games, etc.)

• Dentures

• Cash, checkbook, credit cards

Important Papers:

• Social security cards

• Proof of residence (deed or lease)

• Insurance policies

• Birth certificate

• Marriage certificate

• Stocks, bonds, and other negotiable certificates

• Wills, deeds, copies of recent tax returns

Most people will be expected to get to the shelters on their own. But in Cheshire, the Senior Center's bus will be available for emergency transportation, Milone said.

Officials in the two communities have differing concerns related to the network of utilities that serve residents.

The concern in Cheshire is that heavy rains and flooding could wreak havoc with the town's aging waste water treatment plant and pump stations, Milone said.

"We would have some serious problems if that happened," he said. "The pump stations are what drive the effluent from the various parts of town to the waste water treatment plants. If the pump stations are flood, effluent will start to back up into people's homes."

Workers have been assigned to monitor the waste water treatment plant and the pump stations, Milone said.

Public works equipment has also been placed at strategic locations around town in case flooding or other storm related problems shutdown roads, he said.

Milone said the town has the added security of having the state emergency crews using a commuter parking lot on Waterbury Road as a regional staging area.

"Should the need arise, they'll be near by," he said.

Lt. Marc Mikulski said Wallingford officials are urging residents to call the town's Electric Division directly about power outages rather than call police about the problem. The Electric Division's number is (203) 265-5055. Non-emergency police and fire calls should go to (203) 294-2800.

Wallingford has declared at parking ban starting Saturday at 11 p.m. No vehicles can park or remain on any town street while the ban is in effect.

The purpose of the ban to allow emergency vehicles to move safely and quickly around the community and to facilitate the restoration of public utilities, Mikulski said.

To make sure that the Cheshire Fire Department can respond rapidly to emergencies, all three of the town's fire stations will be staffed overnight during the storm, Milone said.

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