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Dover Town Officials Reflect On Tropical Storm Irene

Note: The following is a press release from the Dover Board of Selectmen's office.

To the citizens of Dover,

With Tropical Storm lrene now behind us and the Town of Dover into its post-Labor Day routine, the Board of Selectmen would like to take this opportunity to reflect upon the past week. When the storm subsided Sunday evening, our Highway, Police and Fire departments were already canvassing the streets of Dover to identify and prioritize the work that needed to be done by Dover and the utility companies. There were 19 roads (including 4 major thoroughfares) impassable due to fallen trees, many more roads categorized as safety hazards due to the amount of debris and many private driveways in both categories. Our emergency coordination team prioritized the road work, Dover’s crews worked day and night Sunday through Tuesday, and by Tuesday afternoon all roads in Dover were open to traffic. During this period our Police Dept. responded to 89 calls and our volunteer Fire/EMT Dept. responded to 49 calls.

According to NSTAR 93.5% of Dover lost power during the storm. Over the past decade we have cultivated an excellent working relationship with NSTAR and by Monday afternoon there was a coordinated approach between the utilities and Dover’s Highway and Police departments. While we all would have preferred NSTAR’s presence a bit earlier, there were 5 crews working on restoring power to Dover’s households and schools by Monday afternoon. By Wednesday evening, only 8% of households were still without power. Town officials continued to work with NSTAR throughout the week to advocate for individual households who needed work even after neighborhood power was restored.

In any emergency of this sort, our immediate thoughts go to those who are housebound or need extra support. Our Council on Aging Outreach Coordinator Carl Sheridan, in conjunction with the Police Department, reached out and visited those households identified through our Outreach Program, sometimes just checking in and other times delivering food and water. We know anecdotally about neighborhoods and friends sharing resources and generator power, and checking in on each other. Dover’s citizens, employees and volunteer/elected officials should all be proud of how the Town of Dover came together and responded to the demands placed upon us by Tropical Storm Irene.

At the risk of missing some, the BOS would like to particularly thank Superintendent of Streets Craig Hughes and his staff, Chief Peter McGowan and the entire Police force, Fire Chief Hughes, Deputy Fire Chief Dave Tiberi and our call Fire/EMT department, and Carl Sheridan for their outstanding efforts this past week. Their omnipresence and teamwork were instrumental in Dover’s fast recovery.

As with any emergency of this sort, it is always beneficial to step back after the fact and assess the situation and identify what worked well and where improvements can be made. We know, for instance, that we can improve our communication with Dover’s citizens by taking better advantage of the technologies available in this age of instant communication. The Board of Selectmen has requested that this assessment be undertaken under the direction of Town Administrator Dave Ramsay, with a report completed by mid-November. Should any of you have suggestions you would like to share, please contact any of us.

 

Carol Lisbon, Chair, Board of Selectmen

James P. Dawley, Jr.

Joseph M. Melican

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