OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
October 27, 2012
Call to Order
The special meeting for Hurricane Sandy preparation began at 1:56 PM on Saturday October 27, 2012 at the Halifax Town Office. Board members in attendance were Edee Edwards, Lewis Sumner, and Earl Holtz. Members of the public in attendance included Christina Moore via conference call, Justin Berry, Brad Rafus, Jessica Bruno, John LaFlamme, Nick Bartenhagen, Maggie Bartenhagen, Wayne Courser, Patty Dow, Frank Maltese, Ross Barnett, and Andy Rice.
Hurricane Sandy Preparation
Sumner reported that he just got off a conference call with Ray O’Keefe regarding Albany, NY weather. It has been reported that Sandy will reach inland on the coast between Delaware and New Jersey. Rain in our area is expected to reach 3-4”, but we should not expect flooding. Winds on Monday and Tuesday could reach 50-70mph. We should expect widespread power outages. No snow is expected in our area except for maybe a few flurries by the end of the week.
Maltese brought in maps of potential flooding and the track of the storm from NOAA. Berry confirmed that on his conference call with the national weather service, they were not concerned about widespread flooding in our area. Power outages would be the worst of it and could last for a long time.
Maltese inquired whether we should move the emergency operations center to the town garage should the weather become very bad. The Selectboard member of the public discussed the possible backup locations and the strengths and weaknesses of each location for the EOC. Internet access and secondary antennae locations were discussed.
Edwards inquired whether we have any way to activate reverse 911 and whether the system has been tested. Berry replied no it has not been tested. Edwards suggested the concert to be held on 10/28 as a possible way to distribute information to residents.
Edwards inquired whether she and Holtz should have a radio at home for a means of communicating with them when phone lines are down. She would also like training on the use of the portable radios. Edwards also inquired whether Rafus can pick up phone messages from the town garage from any location. Rafus replied yes, he can. Edwards also suggested having a master list of contact information (pager, cell phone, e-mail lists). Holtz had an updated list that he will copy for her.
Edwards noted that in the past, Paul Blais had said it was possible to set up a radio that could act as a repeater. If it’s worthwhile, someone should ask him about that.
Courser indicated that he has his power saw ready to go to help clear fallen trees. He expressed that anyone clearing trees should be very careful about electrical wires. The group discussed the safety of volunteers. It was noted that volunteers have not been paid in the past and it was agreed that the town will handle volunteers informally. The Selectboard was asked to prepare for the need of rental equipment.
Rice noted that residents should try and clear ditches and culverts from any debris and suggested it be announced at the concert. Rafus confirmed that the town has about 4500 yards of gravel at this time.
It was confirmed that emergency services personnel and Jeff Nugent at Windham Regional were informed that Reed Hill Bridge is open.
Damage assessment was discussed. Edwards noted that the town road crew is the foundation of the damage assessment team. Maggie Bartenhagen suggested having a point person in various regions of town designated to report and identify issues. Moore recommended having a formal process for damage assessment and measurement and noted that some towns use their listers in that role. Rice suggested taking the Halifax map and noting who has pagers or radios. If the phones go out, one of those people can be designated to take care of communication in that region. Courser and Barnett will mark who has radios on the map. Moore expressed that she needs GPS coordinates in degrees decimal format Lat/Long.
Edwards expressed that she would like to make sure everyone has the forms they need. She noted that during Irene, Everett Wilson prepared a form. Moore expressed that they need a new form. Berry noted that there are forms on the VT Emergency Management website.
Berry inquired whether they would be stationing fire truck in various locations in case of flooding. Barnett replied that the officers would have a meeting and would decide that.
It was noted that the town has about 100gal of fuel on hand to run the generators.
The role of incident commander was discussed. It was noted that the incident commander does not have to be the EMD. Moore added that there can be a joint command system with multiple people (Selectbboard, EMD’s or public service chiefs). ICF does not say one person has to handle it. Edwards noted that if 12 hour shifts will be required if the EOC is opened, we should notify staff ahead of time and indicate who is playing what role.
Edwards expressed that she would like to set up the network, projectors, printers etc at the EOC beforehand to be sure everything works properly. It was noted that we should have our phone list of residents we called during Irene ready to go as well.
LaFlamme wanted to note that during Irene, people that filled multiple roles were overburdened and cautioned the Selectboard about having one person fill multiple roles. He also wanted to have a list of the ideas discussed today for the all hazards plan.
Maggie Bartenhagen inquired what the Windham Region Commissioners roles should be. Edwards replied that the EOC mailbox is set up and Berry will keep track of it. She requested that information continue to be sent via e-mail and expressed that they may call on her if they are in a situation where they might need a liaison.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:20pm.