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Lewis County Emergency Groups Revisit Derecho, Sandy Response
Written by Nicole Porter
Last updated on December 10, 2012 @ 7:17PM
Created on December 10, 2012 @ 6:30PM
 
In June, thousands in Lewis County were without power for days at a time. Some didn't get power back for nearly 11 days. On Monday, representatives from emergency crews and other groups met to see what needs done to make sure they're helping people as efficiently as possible if this were to ever happen again.

A lot of representatives came to talk and had both positives and negatives about the responses. Almost everyone agreed that communication was the biggest problem during the storm and recovery.  

Monday's meeting included commissioners, Office of Emergency Management representatives, fire and police departments, as well as Stonewall Jackson and Sharpe hospitals. Both hospital representatives said they were doing well for the most part during the derecho because they had their 96 hour plans in place. Sharpe representatives said one big problem was that it got really hot in the building because the windows can't open and they need to address some kind of solution because they are not allowed to evacuate the facility because of some patient's criminal records.
 
The volunteer fire departments said keeping guys around who didn't have to go back to work posed some problems but they did just fine.
 
All agreed that communication was a problem, especially since cell phone service was spotty at times.
 
"We have some options available to us that's just coming available to us, of course the state wide inner-operable network. We're in the infant stages of that so that will be another resource to us that we didn't have and of course we're trying to expand our social media capabilities," said Lewis County Office of Emergency Management Director Bill Rowan.

All of the information shared at this meeting will be taken under consideration to make sure emergency plans are updated. The county did receive $4,000 back from FEMA for costs during the derecho.

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