Friday, November 4, 2011

October Snow Disaster

It’s Friday, Nov. 4 – day 6 or 7, depending on how you’re counting – of the power outage caused by an October 29 snowstorm. We are lucky to have power, phones, internet and email here at work. However, looking out my window, I watch power trucks from as far away as Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida and yes, Wichita, Kansas, drive by.

It’s a sure sign that hundreds, or even thousands of linesmen and tree workers are here in our area restoring power to homes and businesses in the region. I’m hoping that includes my home soon.

I personally witnessed more than 500 people dining in our Better Living Center last night. They were exhausted, and hungry. They ate, relaxed, visited – and then went right back out into the darkness to continue their much-appreciated work.

When the day is done, which can be at any hour, they return here to our Moses Building to get some sleep before starting over the next day. There are so many workers to house, we set up a temporary shelter in part of the 3-acre Better Living Center.
The logistics of such an undertaking are mind-boggling. Storrowton Tavern is providing breakfast, lunch and dinner to WMECO headquarters for their staff and box lunches are farmed out to workers in the field who can’t leave their posts (no pun intended) to stop to eat. Kudos to the Tavern staff.

Base Logistics, of Harvey, Louisiana, is overseeing all emergency response logistics – coordinating meal services with hot breakfasts and dinners to more than 700 at a sitting.

Our Operations department is on hand to help with any needs imaginable. Beds need to be transferred from the Moses building to the Better Living Center. Restrooms need to be cleaned. Security needs to be provided. Trash need to be disposed of. Parking needs to be orchestrated – these trucks are HUGE! The list is endless.

At the end of the day, it just starts all over again. According to WMECO, power is expected to be fully restored within the next few days. While it’s not soon enough for those waiting in the cold, it will be welcome and warm when it does happen. And the experience won’t be forgotten soon.