Chatham Hires New Emergency Manager

Chatham Fish Pier

CHATHAM – In an effort to increase disaster preparedness in Chatham after many residents were left stranded without power last winter, the town has hired its first emergency manager.

Chatham Town Manager Jill Goldsmith recently hired retired Coast Guard captain and part-time professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy John Kondratowicz.

Fire Chief Peter Connick recently told Selectmen that Kondratowicz will begin working next month.

“He has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the world of emergency management,” Connick said.

Kondratowicz will develop and enhance the town’s current emergency plans.

“We are going to start with high probability events to brush those up and we’re also going to be looking at unique events so that we are not unprepared for those as well,” Connick said.

Once those plans are in place table top exercises will be conducted to see what will work and what doesn’t work.

Kondratowicz will also be the town’s representative on the Barnstable County Regional Emergency Planning Committee. The committee meets monthly and more often as storms are approaching.

“They rehash the things that we’ve done well and we talk about the things we have not done as well,” Connick said. “We try to formulate plans that allow us to assist each other when it’s not a global event and share resources when, for instance, the utilities are out for all of Cape Cod.”

He will also attend regular Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency meetings.

Kondratowicz’s teaching background will also help to train town staff for the Incident Command System training that they don’t have.

“Most people have what they need and those who come onboard will be trained by this individual,” Connick said.

Another goal will be to establish a Citizen Emergency Response Team.

“He’s going to reach out to see if we can get enough people that we can get some training together for that,” Connick said.

The emergency manager will also address private groups and organizations about what they need to be thinking about for themselves, friends, relatives and neighbors.

“He’s got a pretty full slate walking in the door,” Connick said. “He’s done this before and other places. It’s really his background and we are fortunate that we found someone who has experience in these areas.”

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