State of Connecticut Tests Hurricane Readiness

In light of the storms that hit and caused massive damage in Connecticut last fall, Connecticut underwent a state wide disaster drill that simulated the landfall and aftermath of a category 3 hurricane. The purpose of the drill was to test the communication capabilities between state utility companies and state and local governments in the face of an emergency. The drill will also test the state’s CodeRed automated phone service that sends out emergency information in the case of a disaster.

The overall goals of the exercise, which stemmed from concerns the state governor voiced after the storms that caused such widespread damage in the fall of 2011, are threefold.

  1. To improve communications to facilitate utility restoration and road clearing. To this end, utility crews worked with public works from participating towns to implement new protocols to enhance road clearing processes and communications.
  2. Activate local emergency operation centers. To help establish local EOCs, local officials and leaders were required to meet at their local EOC to simulate preparedness for such events.
  3. Establish coordinated emergency shelters. This was accomplished by setting up five separate multijurisdictional shelters across the state.

Ultimately, the drill tested Connecticut’s infrastructure, as well as its preparedness efforts toward future hurricanes and natural disasters.

The drill was divided into two two-day drills. The first part of the drill took place from July 28 to July 29 and dealt with preparedness during pre-hurricane landfall. The second part of the drill took place from July 30–31 and focused on the aftermath of a hurricane.

The full plan can be found here: http://www.ct.gov/demhs/lib/demhs/eppi/participant_handbook.pdf

Drill participants included the Red Cross, utility companies, representatives of the private sector, state agencies and state municipalities. Also participating were local Ham radio operators, who simulated a communication network in the case of a communications breakdown.

For more information about the Connecticut disaster preparedness drill, visit: http://newtownbee.com/News/News/2012/07-July/2012-07-26__12-37-28/Officials+Prepare+For+Statewide+Disaster+Drill