City leaders in New Haven are making sure they are prepared in the event a major hurricane hits Connecticut.
Department leaders from police and fire, to the health department, to public works, to the public schools gathered together to discuss what they will do in the days leading up to a major hurricane to keep people informed and safe.
“What used to be the storms of the century are happening now every five to seven, o we gather today to practice and to drill,” said Sean Matteson, the chief administrative officer for the city of New Haven. “The more we sweat in peace time, the less we will bleed in war.”
They are preparing for storms like Irene in 2011 or Sandy in 2012 that flooded the area with rain and storm surge, brought down trees and knocked out power to thousands of people for several days.
They discussed how they will communicate with each other as well as the public. Each department said what they will do to help, in terms of adding personnel, monitoring city drains and low-lying areas, closing up construction projects, providing emergency shelters and charging stations and keeping the roads passable.
But Rick Fontana, New Haven’s deputy director of emergency management, said it is also important for people who live in the city to prepare.
“Three things we’ll ask the public to do: Make a plan, build a kit, stay informed. Those three items will keep you and your family safe,” Fontana said.
Fontana said families need to decide now where they’ll go in the event of an emergency evacuation and how they will notify their other family members and friends. For the emergency kit he said, “Make sure you have a radio, make sure you have batteries, make sure you have a flashlight, your insurance papers, make sure they’re in an area where you could keep them secure and where they won’t get wet.”
Fontana also recommended people prepare to be without power for several days and fill their bathtubs with water in case they lose access to water during the storm.