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New emergency plan adopted in Highland

By David Hulse
July 10, 2013

Completing five months of work on June 11, the town board adopted a new update of the Town of Highland’s Emergency Plan.

Authorized by state law, the plan was coordinated by council members Scott Hallock and James Gutekunst, consulting with the Yulan and Highland Lake fire departments; the American Legion Ambulance Service; and the Town of Highland constables at meetings this past winter and spring, Hallock said.

Admittedly “advisory in nature,” the 19-page document “is intended to provide a range of guidelines or alternatives…. ”

The plan names the supervisor as emergency manager, and calls on him to “coordinate town response activities and brief… departments, agencies and other organizations involved.” He would work with an advisory team including the deputy supervisor, other elected town officials, and the chiefs of local emergency services.

The plan also provides for the supervisor’s declaration of an emergency, which could establish curfews, restrict travel, evacuate facilities or areas, and “close places of assembly.”

The plan goes on to include public notifications through the media and the county 911 system’s reverse calling feature; names public and various private facilities which are to be available as shelters; lists measures for assisting the elderly or incapacitated; and provides an extensive list of phone contact numbers for local and regional agencies, utilities and services.

Supervisor Andy Boyar credited Hallock and Gutekunst for the work, calling the plan “a good guide for approaching a challenging situation. Let’s hope the need won’t occur.”

Disappointment with NYC DEP

The board also heard Boyar report on his disappointment with the outcome of the June 6 Upper Delaware Council briefing by Thomas Murphy, New York City’s chief engineer, for its Bureau of Water Supply.

“I left a little depressed at his lack of receptiveness,” to various regional calls for reservoir management reform from downstream homeowners, anglers, and the recreational industry,” Boyar added, “They haven’t heard the last from us. We’ll keep at it.”

In other business, the board scheduled an Unsafe Buildings Law public hearing to consider demolition of a deteriorated residence on Washington Lake Road in Yulan; approved a $5,039 bid from Olsen Mechanical of Rowland, PA for installation of a heat pump/air conditioning unit at the senior center; and agreed to seek bids on a highway department 2004 Dodge Ram truck.