Connecticut is expected to be spared the havoc of Hurricane Florence, but the storm’s impending landfall in the Carolinas prompted a reminder about preparedness.
State Sens. Martin Looney, Gary Winfield, and Bob Duff joined Mayor Toni Harp and in the city’s Emergency Operations Center at 200 Orange St. Thursday to remind residents that it’s hurricane season not just in the Carolinas and the Gulf Coast but in New England as well.
“While Connecticut is unlikely to be directly impacted by Hurricane Florence, which is headed for North Carolina, we do know that Connecticut has a long history of deadly and damaging hurricanes, most of which arrive between mid-August and late September,” said Looney, who serves as Senate president pro tempore. “The time to prepare for a major weather event is now. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”
Mayor Harp said that the city’s response to storms and other natural disasters depends on the contingency plans of the state and the sometimes the resources of the federal government. The city will be in a position to get a little more help when the state Bond Commission meets next. Looney announced that the commission is expected to approve a $10 million bond issue to help replace the city’s public works building. Harp said the city has budgeted about that much to match that given that the building “can’t be patched up anymore.”
But she said city residents and business owners also have a responsibility to take every precaution and to rehearse their own response so that they can have the “best outcomes in the worst case scenarios.”
“Have a personal response plan in place and be prepared to perform it,” she said.
Harp urge New Haven residents to sign up for the city’s emergency alert system by calling 203-946-8224 or by registering online at by clicking here.
Winfield said being prepared means actually having a plan and a thinking it through. That means charging up cell phones in advance and possibly having a backup charger, gassing up the car in advance, and hitting the stores to stock up well before a storm is expected to hit. He also recommended following elected officials and other entities on social media who push out information through those channels.
“This storm has been downgraded to a category two, but that doesn’t mean its not a real storm,” he said.
Winfield, who also heads up legislature’s Energy and Technology Committee, said when storms do come to Connecticut that committee will monitor the response of the state’s utility companies and invited people to contact that committee if they have problems.
Looney also urged people to report instances of price gouging for goods and services when it comes to storms. He noted that the legislature passed legislation a number of years ago to prevent profiteering and price gouging.
“It’s unfortunate that some see storms as a time for predatory behavior but we have tried to counteract that by law,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Duff of Norwalk urged people to download the CT Prepares application for smartphones to stay on top of the latest information during a storm.
“The message is to prepare now to be safe later,” he said.
Rick Fontana, the city’s emergency operations deputy director, noted that one of the best $50 a person could spend in preparation for the storm season is a portable power pack for cell phones.
“Without your cell phone you can’t stay informed,” he said. “Ready.gov says make a plan and know where you’re going, have all your insurance information and build a kit. It’s great to have water and medication and it’s great to have a power pack. That will help you stay informed.
“If you have no power connection you can’t get in touch with your family to let them know where you are,” he added.
Watch this Facebook Live of the press conference from EOC.