After residents were left stranded in the February blizzard of 2013 in New Britain when many streets went unplowed for days, the city of New Britain is doing things differently this time around.
New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart pened the city's emergency operations center. While blizzard conditions continue outside, her office reported that crews are working to keep the roads open.
Stewart, who was a New Britain resident during the 2013 blizzard but not mayor, spent Monday reviewing the forecast and planing for the storm with public works and emergency services officials.
Back in 2013 when Tim O'Brien was mayer, the city ordered an independent review of its emergency procedures. The study called New Britain "a city potentially put at risk" and made several recommendation to improve emergency operations, including updating an outdated radio system. O'Brien said at the time that the city also identified many of the recommendations made in the study in its own internal review and that the radio system upgrade was in the works before the blizzard hit that year.
As for now, Stewart said that "government is most effective when everyone is communicating and sharing information."
"I know what it was like to be stranded at my house for almost a week on end," said Stewart, referencing the 2013 blizzard, adding that New Britain has "made some serious changes to its entire operation since then, including developing new snow routes and getting new equipment. "Our staff is properly prepared to get our streets dug out, get those emergency routes opened up, get our people safe and out and about their business."
The city established a committee to self-evaluate its operations and took the suggestions, "so we're pretty good to go right now," Stewart said Tuesday morning.