Foxborough will be better prepared for the town’s next emergency thanks to a new handbook created by town officials.
Taking lessons learned from last year’s power outages, the town created an Emergency Preparedness Handbook for residents.
“The town has taken some great steps, learned from the lessons [of last year’s storms],” said Foxborough Board of Selectmen chair James DeVellis.
Two storms last year caused significant power outages in Foxborough for extended periods of time and DeVellis admitted the town wasn’t prepared to handle those situations.
“Selectmen had 10 meetings [during last year’s storms] and the simple questions were being asked,” DeVellis said. “Where’s the shelter? How are we going to communicate with the public [without power]? It got to the point where we were going to use a Megaphone around the Common to relay information to people.”
Foxborough Fire Chief Roger Hatfield and Health Director Pauline Clifford teamed up to provide the community with a detailed handbook offering tips for residents to prepare for an emergency.
“Roger and Pauline did a great job,” said Town Manager Kevin Paicos. … “After two, one-week power outages last year, I think everybody has learned the lesson that real deal storm planning has become a necessity for people to do. This is for home and family. The public will be getting this very shortly.”
Paicos said Hatfield and Clifford secured a grant to fund the handbook after last year’s Emergency Planning Action Report showed a need for public information about storm planning.
“This is a very comprehensive packet of information they put through,” said Paicos.
DeVellis expressed concern that such a thorough report may be difficult to use during an emergency.
“This [plan] is very thorough and it’s my fear it is going to get filed some place and when you need it … it kind of gets lost when you’re in panic and need basic information,” DeVellis said.
Hatfield and Clifford are expected to prepare a one-page overview of basic town information needed in the event of emergency, which will be readily available in the community.
“People survived on cell phones [during last year’s storms] and they’d go to the networks – [Foxborough] Patch and the [Sun] Chronicle,” DeVellis said. “If this information can be linked into them and let people know where it is – that’s helpful.”
DeVellis said the town struggled with basic communication to its residents during last year’s storms and believes this handbook, coupled with the lessons learned from last year, will have the community better prepared moving forward.
Selectman Mark Sullivan thanked the volunteers who also worked on the handbook.
“There was a lot of citizens that were involved in that,” Sullivan said. “We appreciate the volunteerism in the town to help out.”
Paicos said the handbook will be reproduced into a book and mass distributed to residents and is really full of great information about what sort of things the town needs to do to prepare.
View the photo gallery above for a page-by-page look at the town’s Emergency Preparedness Handbook.