By Christopher W. Davis
With recent headlines describing hurricanes, flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, hazardous spills and a host of other natural and man-made disasters nationally, it is worth taking a moment to review what all of us can do to make sure that we are prepared for an extreme weather event or if a small-scale disaster hits us here in Charlotte. As a town we are required to have an emergency plan that provides the Selectboard, fire and rescue services and the road commissioner with a check list for procedures and resources they may draw upon should a major event affect our town.
Charlotte recently submitted to FEMA an All-Hazards Mitigation Plan, which is the newest version of a plan for what to do if we are impacted by a natural hazard (a severe storm), technological hazard (a man-made problem like a chemical spill) or a societal hazard (like an epidemic). The plan also provides strategies and goals for what can be done in advance of a disaster to minimize or mitigate the impact on our town’s residents, buildings and roads. The plan also contains lists of local, state and national resources that would be available to assist our town before, during and after a local disaster.
Completing and filing this plan makes Charlotte eligible for state and federal funding to work on improving some of the conditions identified in the plan or for reconstruction after a disaster.
In the coming months the Selectboard and the others who would be called upon to manage a hazardous event will be receiving additional training on how to manage a disaster and will hold a practice session to test one or more of the scenarios covered in the plan.
The draft of the plan is on the town website, charlottevt.org. It is posted under Selectboard, Emergency Response & Management.
Be prepared. There are things that all of us can do at home to ensure we are ready if a severe storm or other major emergency hits our town. Do you have what you need on hand to shelter in place for up to three or more days if the roads are blocked and the power is out in the winter? Do you have essential supplies on hand such as:
- Essential medications/prescriptions for at least a week
- Flashlights/headlamps and spare batteries
- Solar or battery back-up cell phone charger
- Lists of important contact information, essential documents.
- Nonperishable foods
For more information please take a look at the following websites:
Use Vermont 2-1-1 before and during a disaster, as well as any other time, for information on services, support, shelters or almost any question you might have about available assistance or resources.
If you have additional questions contact me or officers at Charlotte Fire and Rescue Services at (802) 425-3111.