Complete with balloons, a ribbon-cutting and several dignitaries, the Round Hill Association and the Round Hill Community Church launched an Emergency Charging Center (ERC) in early February at the Round Hill Community House.
“This center provides a much-needed site in the BackCountry and is a fine example of friends and neighbors banding together to help each other and provide for community resilience,” said First Selectman Peter J. Tesei. The ERC now is fully prepared with a backup generator and ready to operate as an all-volunteer warming/ cooling and recharging center for BackCountry and MidCountry residents during any extensive power outages.
Some 50 friends and neighbors gathered for the celebratory event and live test. Power from the street was turned off, simulating conditions faced in a real emergency, and a recently installed 48 KW generator was alone in powering the building. This was a trial run for opening the facility to the public if an emergency causes an extended power outage–a rare though all too real scenario like that of the 11-day outage following Hurricane Sandy.
Robin and John Vanacore of the Round Hill Store prepared and served hot coffee, soup and other refreshments while participants mingled and recharged, appropriately, their cell phones, tablets, and laptop computers. Tables and chairs with cards and quiet games and nine 12-plug power strips evenly placed around the room were set up as they would be during an emergency. A children’s video played on a TV in the corner of the room.
If an emergency does occur, once roads are safe enough to travel the Town will give the green light to the ERC to open and will alert the public twice daily (through the Town’s emergency notification system*) of its hours of operation. The RHA also will send this information by email to everyone on its emergency email list.**
Most likely, the ERC doors will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day until street power is restored. The Round Hill Store will sell hot beverages, soup, and sandwiches on site and volunteers will supervise for 2.5 hour shifts. The facility will offer a safe, comfortable daily escape from the elements, and an opportunity to warm up (or cool down) in the company of others, charge electronic communications devices, and use the restrooms.
“Beyond the warming/cooling and charging operations that can take place, information sharing, needs assessment and social media will help residents stay informed after a storm,” said Dan Warzoha, Town Emergency Management Director, who orchestrates the Town’s readiness to cope with both natural and man-made disasters. “We also appreciate the ability of the association to help provide accurate information on local conditions to our Emergency Operations Center which will aid in our storm recovery operations.”
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- *Town of Greenwich Emergency Notification system at www.greenwichct.org/Government/Departments/EmergencyPreparedness/
- **Round Hill Association Emergency Email List. Go to www.roundhillassn.org; select “GET ALERTS” and add your contact email Or simply email President@roundhillassn.org.
3. For Qs or to become a potential ERC Volunteer, send email to: email@example.com