Advance plans aided storm response; FEMA reimbursement likely

By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Sep. 9, 2011
Tim Bockus, acting public works director, and Mayor Marcia Leclerc speak to the East Hartford Town Council about the emergency response following tropical storm Irene. Photos by Frances Taylor.
Tim Bockus, acting public works director, and Mayor Marcia Leclerc speak to the East Hartford Town Council about the emergency response following tropical storm Irene. Photos by Frances Taylor.

The opening of the Emergency Operations Center in the hours before tropical storm Irene hit, and a coordinated effort on the part of a range of town departments, helped East Hartford come through the storm well, said Mayor Marcia A. Leclerc during a report to the Town Council.

Leclerc, who was joined by Fire Chief John Oates and acting Public Works Director Tim Bockus, outlined to the council the steps taken to respond to requests for help from residents and to coordinate with Connecticut Light & Power after the storm had passed.

“Preparation for this storm actually started years ago – coming up with a plan and getting people trained,” Oates said. “And it paid off tremendously. What you do in advance of an emergency like this is just as important as what you do after.” The Emergency Operations Center at the Public Safety Complex was staffed by town officials and emergency response volunteers who monitored residents’ calls to police and fire services, and opened an emergency shelter for people and pets at East Hartford High School.

“One of the things we learned is that the system worked,” Leclerc said, while acknowledging that there was frustration on the part of residents in regard to CL&P. At the height of the storm, about 50 percent of the town was without power.

“We partnered with CL&P by providing our own tree-clearing crews, instead of waiting for theirs,” said Bockus.

In addition, Leclerc said it was likely that the town could be reimbursed $150,000 by FEMA for storm costs, which represents about 75 percent of the total cost.

In other business, the Town Council recognized Myquan Williams for his Ringside World Tournament win in the 13- to 14-year-old division.  Williams, a member of the Manchester Rocks boxing program, is an East Hartford resident. The tournament was held in Kansas City.


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