Barnstable Officials Ready Safety Plans Ahead of Winter Storm Season

HYANNIS – As hurricane season continues and winter looms, safety officials with Barnstable County are outlining their efforts towards ensuring a timely and effective response to any potential disasters. 

Emergency Preparedness Specialist with the State Department of Health and Environment William Riley said that the region has performed three major training exercises, and one already proved useful during a recent emergency on the Islands.

“One was Operation Poseidon,” said Riley.

“It was an exercise on how to get first responders to Martha’s Vineyard in the event they had an incident that needed people. We finished that plan a week before the Nantucket fire. The chiefs were able to take some of those components and apply them on how to get firefighters over to Nantucket.”

Riley said that the region is a leader in emergency preparedness, especially when it comes to providing shelters, however some obstacles persist including limited volunteer staffing.

“Our shelter program is volunteer based and we are heavily dependent on those volunteers to staff the shelters when we activate them. We know we have some challenges there,” said Riley.

“We are in the process of starting an outreach campaign. We are in the process of supporting the partner agencies through recruiting. Throughout our local outreach events that we’re participating in over the next couple of months—things like the Barnstable 55+ day—we’ll be there to talk emergency preparedness and also shelter operations and hopefully drum up a few volunteers.”

The Barnstable 55+ Community Safety Day event will be held on September 22 from 11 am to 2 pm, and will allow older residents to learn about local safety resources. 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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