November 20, 2012 —
Like officials in other towns that survived Hurricane Sandy, officials in the Town of Bethel went through a bit of post-storm analysis at their latest meeting on November 14.
Supervisor Dan Sturm was mostly pleased with the way the various entities had responded. He thanked the Kauneonga Lake, Smallwood and White Lake fire departments for providing warming and recharge stations during the extended power outages caused by the storm.
He was also appreciative of the highway department, which had to deal with numerous downed trees blocking roads. He said, “At one point, we had 40 roads closed; it was very difficult, but they were all opened within a couple of days.”
There was, however, one group that Sturm did not praise. He said, “NYSEG upper management, I think they got some work to do. I think the allocation of resources could have been quicker and better. And the communication system, I found that getting the word out, in the absence of power, that really needs some work, too. A lot of people are saying they just could not get access to information. Overall, a great job and I’m proud to be part of this community that looks out for their neighbors and works together in tough times.”
Other officials commented about communications during the storm. Those who had smartphones appeared to have the best shot at getting information in the Town of Bethel during the event. Also, those who had an old-fashioned, hard wired telephone were able to use it to get information, and texting worked well on cell phones. While three of the radio stations were knocked out of commission for days, Thunder 102 was on intermittently and people with battery-powered radios were able to tap into that.
[The River Reporter, with its generator, stayed online and was broadcasting updates of the storm and emergency information.]
Council member Vicky Simpson thanked Sturm for taking the lead in the storm response, and council member Denise Frangipane said she was moved that someone called her during the event and said, “We know you have a new baby at home,” and offered her dry ice.