This past week’s blizzard dumped more than a foot of windswept snow, but the power stayed on for the most part and that kept people in their homes, Plympton and Halifax officials said.
Plympton Fire Chief Warren Borsari said that looking back Wednesday afternoon, the storm was fairly uneventful.
Borsari said there was a lot of snow, high winds, and a couple of small power outages. One of the outages affected the police and fire stations.
There were fewer than 10 calls during the storm, for medical calls, investigations, sparking wires and trees down, he said.
“It was a lot of snow, but nothing like the Nemo storm we had in ’13. That was bad news,” he said.
The storm in 2013 had most or all of the roads in Plympton blocked, and Plympton firefighters responded to a house fire during that storm, rushing up a hill and putting the fire out using hand tools. The driveway was unplowed, and blocked by thick pine trees that had fallen. Firefighters saved the house that day. “A big save. I’m proud of that,” Borsari said.
This past week, fire and police did wellness checks on residents and opened a warming center at the Plympton Town House at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, but closed it at 7 p.m. because nobody stopped by, he said.
“It’s a hardy bunch here in Plympton,” he said. “They’re pretty well self-sufficient, pretty well experienced.”
Borsari said a few people showed up at the regional shelter at Silver Lake Regional High School in Kingston, which was open for 24 hours.
Plympton sent personnel to help staff the shelter, and Kingston had some power outages for a few hours as well, he said.
“Not bad. We fared very well,” he said.
Borsari said people were good with respecting the travel ban put in place by Gov. Charlie Baker. In the past, people did not respect such bans, the chief said.
“That was very helpful to us. People get into trouble, then we have to go get them,” he said.
Halifax Selectman Kim Roy said shelter volunteers, retired police chief Michael Manoogian, Police Chief Edward Broderick and Fire Chief Jason Viveiros all did a good job with the storm response.
“They did a tremendous job just preparing,” she said.
Roy said there were not a lot of trees down and no power outages. Four people did visit the shelter, she said.
Walmart donated $260 worth of supplies and food for the shelter, and was generally available for the town, she said.
Broderick said the police department was not continuously plowed out during the storm, and as a result, it was hard getting in and out, a dispatcher got stuck in the snow, and police officers had to shovel and move cars around.
“Our driveway plowing has been an issue since I’ve been there,” he said.
All Halifax, Kingston, Plympton and Silver Lake schools were closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday due to unsafe road and sidewalk conditions.
The Silver Lake school board meeting scheduled for Thursday night was canceled.
Viveiros the storm was the first opportunity for Halifax to test at least past of the town’s emergency management plan.
In the past, Halifax tried to run a town shelter, but was not well suited to do so because of staffing issues, he said.
The town opened a warming center at the Halifax Elementary School, and worked with Halifax and Kingston to open, operate and staff a regional shelter at Silver Lake Regional High School.
The goal is to not house people for more than 12 to 24 hours in a warming center, but to transport them after a longer stay at the center to the regional shelter, he said.
Viveiros said Halifax took four elderly residents to the shelter, picking up some of them with the ambulance. They stayed at the Halifax Elementary School warming center Monday night, then were taken by bus Tuesday morning to the Silver Lake shelter. The shelter closed at 8 a.m. Wednesday, he said.
Halifax utilized the town’s CERT team. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. CERT volunteers manned the warming center and shelter, provided transportation, and manned the emergency operations center at the police station, he said.
Viveiros said the manager of the Halifax Walmart called the town three times to let volunteers come into the store, take food and supplies for the warming center, and to consider it a donation.
Halifax Fire brought in extra staff. They responded to mostly routine calls. The chief said there is a concern during storms because ambulances take twice as long to take patients to the hospital and return to the station. Extra manpower is needed for medical calls during storms to help move someone from a house to a stretcher to an ambulance, and responders might need to shovel out snow, Viveiros said.
“I was glad we were able to test out our emergency management plan, our sheltering plan. Everything went very well. The cooperation between the three towns was great,” he said.