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Wallingford Prepares for Hurricane Sandy

How the town is planning to meet Sandy head on

Hurricane Sandy is expected to arrive Sunday night or Monday. News of the storm spurred CL&P and UI into early action to prevent a repeat of last year’s over 700,000 power outages after Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm. Governor Dannel P. Malloy said state officials are “preparing for a moderate to worst-case scenario” and anticipating a 36-hour storm.

In Wallingford, officials swung into action early. The Mayor’s Office met on Friday with the department heads of Public Works, Health, Emergency Management, Police, Fire, Public Utilities, Water and Sewer, and the Electric Division to discuss their plans.

Mayor William W. Dickinson, Jr., said an emergency operations center will open if necessary as a command center for the department heads to coordinate activities.

“We will make a decision to open an emergency operations center” when and if the time comes, Dickinson said, “to determine whether to open evacuation shelters or take other measures.”

Meanwhile, Wallingford residents are stocking up on supplies. Water and batteries are popular items at Stop and Shop. A manager said there’s already been a mad rush on bottled water and the store is ordering more from their warehouse.

A customer who didn’t want his name published said his wife sent him out to buy three cases of bottled water plus three gallons of water.

“I got enough here to fill a bathtub,” he said.

The American Red Cross, Connecticut Region encouraged residents to take preparedness steps at home, such as gathering basic supplies and making an emergency kit to meet the storm.

“We are reaching out to all volunteers to determine availability,” said Paul Shipman, spokesperson for the American Red Cross. “We’re reaching out to towns to make sure we coordinate plans, we’re inventorying our supplies, and we’re checking on shelter locations.”

The American Red Cross website offers a broad range of materials, Shipman said, on how to prepare for the heavy winds, rains, and possible flooding hurricanes bring. The site also features a smart phone hurricane app  which lets users track hurricane watches and warnings, offers a preparedness checklist, and guidelines on what to do before, during, and after the storm. It even links to social media to send out an “I’m Safe” message.

“I’ve encouraged all my friends and family to download it,” said Shipman.

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