Sandy Likely To Cost Darien More Than Irene

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Darien officials are working to identify ways they can improve their response when the next storm hits. Photo Credit: Fred Converse

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien officials don’t have final numbers on what Hurricane Sandy will ultimately cost the town, but said it is likely to exceed the cost of Hurricane Irene last year. The process for municipalities filing to FEMA will begin Tuesday.

First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said town departments are in the process of compiling their after-storm reports and that a final report will be delivered. Town officials met at the Emergency Operations Center and identified some things that they would like to work on for future emergency events.

“Generally things worked very smoothly this time given the magnitude of the disaster. The opening of the Emergency Operations Center was a tremendous benefit to us all,” Stevenson said.

The town needs to form a shelter task force, Stevenson said. This would be a group of dedicated people who would be able to open up an emergency shelter. The town used Darien High School as a shelter during Sandy, and in the future could also use Middlesex Middle School or the Mather Community Center once it opens.

Stevenson said the town will have to look at its fuel storage capacity at the Public Works garage. The fuel supply almost reached a critical low during the storm and refueling became problematic.

Improved software for managing road closures and work completed, she said. Stevenson said the police department has made updates to the software, and will continue to make improvements.

Capital needs for the next storm include upgrades to the generators at critical facilities, such as Darien High School, Town Hall and the Public Works garage. More signage and traffic safety aides will be needed, as well as a satellite connection for Internet and television at the Emergency Operations Center.

“We were actually quite handicapped for a few days with no computer and no access to news at the EOC,” she said.

She also said that she wants to gather information on private associations such as their leadership and demographic information so that the town can better serve them during times of disaster.

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