Matt Palmisano, of Bellows Falls, uses a snowblower to help remove the snow after a storm earlier this month.

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BELLOWS FALLS — Bellows Falls is not doing enough to plan for a weather emergency like the widespread power outages that plunged the village into darkness this week, village officials were told Thursday night.

The Bellows Falls Village Trustees themselves had to cancel their regular Tuesday night meeting — and reschedule for Thursday — as there was no power, or heat, or lights in the town hall.

Trustee Stefan Golec suggested that the village use some of its federal ARPA funds to buy a large enough generator for the town hall, so the town hall could function in the midst of a widespread power outage or similar emergency.

Municipal Manager Scott Pickup said the Bellows Falls Village Public Safety Building, as well as the Rockingham Volunteer Fire Department, both were equipped with generators.

And Pickup said that opening the town hall as a warming shelter did present some problems.

The public safety building, which houses the village’s police and fire departments, isn’t ideal either, Pickup said. The building’s elevator doesn’t work, and the village was recently told that the parts needed for the elevator were no longer being made.

Village residents and officials said it was generous of Chroma Technology to come forward and open a warming shelter on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, when thousands of households in BF and Rockingham were without power.

Only a handful of people took advantage of the offer, and none spent the night.

But the town and village should be doing something, others said.

Village President Deborah Wright said that while the village does have a large-scale emergency plan, it is for something more long-term like Tropical Storm Irene and not a big but temporarily paralyzing snowstorm.

Wright agreed with the residents who came to the re-scheduled meeting that the village and town needed to do more for its residents.

Pickup said that as of Thursday evening, only one road was still closed in Rockingham. According to GMP’s outage website that evening, several hundred households were still without power.

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Resident Rebecca Gagnon, Laurel Green and Steve Crofter all urged the trustees to do more planning, and said severe storms were going to be part of regular life with climate change.

But putting a large generator in the town hall didn’t seem to gain much favor.

Pickup noted that according to the state-sanctioned emergency planning document, the emergency shelter is Bellows Falls Union High School.

But he said that wouldn’t really work because students are usually in session when a shelter would be needed.

“There are gaps we need to look at,” said Wright.

Pickup said the storm was widespread and had a big impact, noting that the storm took out the village’s emergency repeater on Fall Mountain.

And he pointed out that during the first 12 hours of the storm, getting to a shelter would have been impossible. Most people in Bellows Falls and Rockingham got their power back after about 12 hours.

Connecting with people during a widespread power outage is problematic, Pickup pointed out.

Not all people, especially the elderly population of Bellows Falls, have cell phones, it was noted.

Wright said that in the 20 years she has lived in Bellows Falls, power outages lasted about a hour or two, not days.

She said that the rural residents of Rockingham were “more prepared” than residents of Bellows Falls.

“The new normal is more storms,” she said.

Contact Susan Smallheer at ssmallheer@reformer.com.