Governor Malloy has appointed a panel to review how the state, municipalities and utilities responded to Tropical Storm Irene. The group will also take a broader look at Connecticut’s disaster preparedness.
Members of the S.T.O.R.M. Irene Panel include leaders from the military, disaster relief, non-profit agencies and municipal governments. They’ll examine response to the storm - what worked and what didn’t.
Hamden mayor Scott Jackson. "It turned not into a wind event or a rain event specifically in a lot of parts of the state, but actually a power event. We were on the ground working with the utilities, and what we learned was that the process, though it may have been effective in getting folks re-powered, it wasn’t efficient."
Hamden is geographically a sizeable town – half urban and half suburban/ rural. Hundreds of trees were lost in the storm and 61,000 people, about 40% of the town lost power. Mayor Jackson says preparing for emergencies means understanding Connecticut’s changing demographics. "We have a lot of people aging at home now. So we got a lot of calls, a lot of e-mails, a lot of faxes. Well I’m not calling about myself, but my neighbor is 92 years old and he needs to have his power back on."
Jackson expects the panel to issue recommendations and work with utilities to improve response in the future.
Meanwhile, Governor Malloy has announced that two FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers will open in East Haven and Guilford, bringing the state’s total to nine.