Report of the Emergency Management Director for 2013

The Emergency Management Department prepares for natural and manmade disasters, serving as the local branch of the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Wakefield continues as an active member of the 16-community Mystic Regional Emergency Planning Committee (REPC). The Mystic REPC meets 10 times during the year and works to conduct and coordinate emergency exercises and procedures throughout the area encompassed by its members.

Wakefield subscribes to Code Red, an emergency notification telephone system that allows town officials to immediately notify residents and businesses via telephone of emergency situations and important community and school information. During 2013 no local emergency shelters were opened.

The Wakefield Auxiliary Fire Department operates under the auspices of Emergency Management. During 2013, Auxiliary Captain Richard Harrington, Auxiliary Lieutenant Robert Sartori, and Auxiliary Firefighters Kevin Boyle, Al Catanzaro, Matthew Harrington, Michael Parr, Matthew Nichols, Alessandro Colarusso, Timothy M. Gorman and John T. McCarthy attended weekly training sessions and responded to emergencies as necessary. These men also volunteered their time at many civic events and activities. Their commitment to the community is commendable and worthy of recognition.

Winter storm Nemo struck the Massachusetts area on February 8-9, depositing some 27 inches of snow throughout the town. The storm created blizzard conditions, with high winds and heavy snowfall exceeding several inches an hour creating near white-out conditions. Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency as well as a ban on all non-essential traffic on all roads throughout the state. The town instituted a parking ban on all streets for most of the weekend. The Town implemented its emergency plan for the storm as the DPW struggled to keep the streets passable. Employees from the Fire, Police, DPW, Light and School departments worked closely together to help ensure the safety of Wakefield’s citizens. There were very few power outages during the storm. Fire hydrants were dug out by Fire and DPW crews until relatively warmer temperatures resulted in a significant snow melt. There was no reported damage to any public facility and no one was injured during the storm. Storm Nemo once again demonstrated the value to the town in having its own municipal power company staffed with dedicated employees serving the Town of Wakefield. All town departments cooperated to make the town’s emergency plan run as smoothly as possible under the circumstances. Wakefield should be extremely proud of how its emergency management team pulled together during these emergency incidents.

A $5,625 Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) was awarded to Wakefield in December of 2012. Funds from this grant purchased additional data switches to increase the Internet and phone capabilities inside the Emergency Operations Center. An additional EMPG grant for $4,530 was awarded in August of 2013 to assist in the replacement of eight security cameras around the perimeter of the Public Safety Building.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to all department heads and their supervisors for their continued cooperation and assistance in serving on the Local Emergency Planning Committee and to the volunteer members of the Wakefield Auxiliary Fire Department for their service during 2013.

Respectfully submitted,

Fire Chief Michael J. Sullivan
Emergency Management Director

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