WILMINGTON -- Prompted by the last storm that hit town following Labor Day, which caused water to rise to dangerous levels, the Selectboard requested that a phone call list be updated that would notify all relevant departments during emergencies.
Wilmington Town Manager Scott Murphy had researched what had happened with the previous list, discovering it had not been updated in awhile. He had re-compiled the numbers before the latest board meeting.
"I will distribute it to department heads and any other pertinent people. Basically, it's just what happens when water levels get to a certain and who needs to be called," he said. "If it continues to rise, there's a second layer of people who need to be contacted."
On Oct. 2, Murphy presented the updated flood call list, which will ultimately contain key town officials, Selectboard members and downtown property owners.
Based on discussions after Tropical Storm Irene and the recent storm in early September, he wanted to receive feedback on the list as well as if any additional processes should be sought. During the most recent storm, there had been nearly 5 inches of rain water in certain sections of town, which caused concern among town officials and residents.
Although the phone call list was not perfect on the night of the meeting, it did provide the board with discussion points based on future emergency situations.
Selectboard member Jim Burke brought up a reverse 911 process that officials from the state had spoke about. A mass message goes out to all phones in the case of an emergency.
"It became this elongated mess," he said. "By the time the state got a hold of it, it had some convoluted rerouting. It was not a simple 911... It was not even worth looking into."
The essence of the reverse 911 notification, however, could be worthwhile, Burke pointed out.
"You could notify everyone there's an event happening down here and you'd be better not come down here," he added.
Burke cited an example of an elderly woman traveling downtown during a storm with high water levels. He said that Wilmington Road Commissioner Bill Hunt had to pull her out of her car.
Selectboard member Susie Haughwout said that Twin Valley schools have a system in place, but she was not sure what it was.
"I know there's been some concern at the (Mount Snow Valley) Chamber of Commerce level, when there were a couple of threats after Irene. We were taking some precautions here," she said. "People in the village didn't know we were so concerned."
Advocating for an educational piece to be repeated every so often in terms of emergency preparedness, Haughwout said that residents need to have their own plans in place in case they don't receive notification from the town. Basic emergency planning workshops to be held in town were mentioned as a potential way to assist people to become more prepared.
Haughwout said that the Selectboard could ask the schools if the notification system is available to municipalities. Murphy said he would check up on it and make additions to the phone call list, which was missing a few contacts because of a printing error.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or email@example.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.