CONWAY TO DISCUSS IMPACT OF IRENE

by Christian Mower on September 6, 2012

HOW DID THE TOWN OF CONWAY PREPARE FOR THE ARRIVAL OF TROPICAL STORM IRENE IN LATE AUGUST, 2011?

HOW DID THE TOWN’S PLAN WORK OUT – AND WHAT IMPROVEMENTS CAN BE MADE BEFORE THE NEXT BIG STORM INEVITABLY HITS?

THOSE QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED AT A PUBLIC MEETING IN CONWAY THE EVENING OF SEP.17TH, AS CONWAY FIRE CHIEF AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR STEVE SOLOMON PRESENTS HIS FINDINGS ON THE STORM.

THE CHIEF HAS ALREADY SHARED HIS CONCLUSIONS WITH CONWAY SELECTMEN – AND THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE – AND HE THINKS EMERGENCY RESPONDERS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WILL BE INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT CONWAY DID TO DEAL WITH THE SECOND WORST FLOODING EVENT EVER RECORDED IN THE TOWN.

SOLOMON’S PRESENTATION WILL COVER STORM PREPARATIONS – INCLUDING COORDINATION BETWEEN FIRE DEPARTMENTS, THE HIGHWAY DEPT. AND POLICE – AND THE ACTUAL RESPONSE TO THE STORM. HE SAYS SOME EVENTS WENT WELL AND OTHER AREAS NEED IMPROVEMENT.

AS AN EXAMPLE, THE CHIEF HAS ORDERED 18 SETS OF PROTECTIVE SUITS FOR FIREFIGHTERS WHO MAY HAVE TO WORK IN FLOODWATERS THAT CONTAIN HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES.

BASED ON EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH IRENE, SOLOMON’S DEPARTMENT NOW HAS AN INFLATABLE POWER BOAT THAT CAN ACCESS AREAS OF SHALLOW WATER – AND A SPECIAL RAFT TO USE FOR SWIFT WATER RESCUES.

SOLOMON’S FIREFIGHTERS AND FIREFIGHTERS FROM MADISON CONDUCTED A DANGEROUS NIGHTTIME EVACUATION OF RESIDENTS IN THE FLOODED TRANSVALE ACRES NEIGHBORHOOD OFF WEST SIDE ROAD NEAR THE SACO RIVER DURING THE WORST PART OF IRENE – AND THE CHIEF’S “AFTER ACTION” REPORT CONSIDERS THE POSSIBILITY OF ORDERING A MANDATORY EVACUATION OF FLOOD PRONE AREAS LIKE TRANSVALE ACRES BEFORE THE NEXT BIG STORM – AND THE NEED TO BUY A POWER GENERATOR TO ALLOW THE CONWAY RECREATION BUILDING TO BE USED AS AN EMERGENCY SHELTER.

A FEW PEOPLE SUSTAINED MINOR INJURIES FROM IRENE BUT THERE WERE NO FATALITIES IN CONWAY. THERE WAS MAJOR PROPERTY DAMAGE.

THE PUBLIC MEETING SEP. 17TH STARTS AT 6:30 P.M. AT KENNETT MIDDLE SCHOOL.