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Emergency Plan Includes Pets

What would happen if the City was hit with hurricane like Hurricane Katrina?

Last week Emergency Operations Center Personnel acted out a storm hit during a mock statewide emergency exercise. All needed departments including health, fire, police, community services, first responders, public works and CL&P representatives took part.

Although, not all conclusions are finalized the City is now more prepared in case such an emergency happens.

“We went through it as if it were the hurricane that hit in 1938,” said Mayor Tim O’Brien. “We went thru the run up of the storm and steps needed to plan ahead.”

Other steps of the mock storm included how to prepare the public the storm is coming, preparing for potential damage and what to do with emergencies that may rise.

One thing the City found was that many people would not leave their homes if their pets were forced to stay.

The National Guard estimated 30 to 40 percent of people who did not leave their homes during Hurricane Katrina did so because they would not leave their pets.

“We found we need a plan for dogs, cats and other pets,” said O’Brien. “These are members of the family.”

O’Brien said many people are forced into heartbreaking situations when emergency personnel knock on their door and tell them they have to go.

“We need to know where everything goes including a human and a dog,” O’Brien said.

The newly formed humane commission is being asked to come up with a plan for that scenario.

It appears at this time New Britain High School would be the building used in a large emergency situation.

“We also have to work much more to improve emergency response,” said O’Brien. “Our dedicated personnel are prepared and we are going to do an after action review during public safety meetings.”

If an emergency were to happen tomorrow, the City would now know what to do and expect, but O’Brien said there are a lot of areas that need tightening up.

“It was good to be able as the mayor to run through the situation so that if we are in a real emergency we are not making stuff up as we go,” said O’Brien.

Although there are still issues the City will work on to make sure all the moving parts are there if people in the City need them, this exercise reassured emergency personnel that what is needed could be done.

“Because we’ve gone thru this exercise we are prepared,” said O’Brien. “The public can rest assured we have a strong system.”