FARMINGTON – A well-organized crew of volunteers worked through this morning replanting an embankment for erosion control along the Sandy River. Volunteers including Foster CTE Center’s forestry program students, town employees and community members worked on a warm, summer-like Monday to plant hardy seedling varieties across the steep bank of the Sandy River. The work is part of a project to prevent further erosion in a long-term effort to protect the Whittier Road above it. The first project of its kind ever to be attempted in Maine, the work to stabilize the collapsing river embankment next to Whittier Road, near the intersection of Route 156, was completed last fall. The bank armoring project included embedding layers of huge pilings, tree trunks and rocks up the side of the steep embankment. Once completed, seedlings were planted by the town, but the majority of those did not survive through the winter. On Monday, the planting crew led by Peter Tracy, chair of the Farmington Conservation Commission, was pleased with the replanting progress. By the end of the first day of work about two-thirds of the 380 juniper, alder and dogwood seedlings had been planted. It was originally thought that it would take all week to finish. “It looks like we might get this finished tomorrow,” Tracy said. The town’s Public Works Department supplied the water with its tanker, as high school students, town officials, fire department members and community volunteers worked in a well coordinated effort to get each seedling planted, mulched and watered. Volunteers are encouraged to show up and help again on Tuesday. The work starts with a safety instruction and assignment of jobs at 8 a.m. Once the planting is completed, keeping the bank’s seedlings watered through the summer is the next task ahead. The $452,000 project, funded in large part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, requires the bank to be successfully re-vegetated. http://www.dailybulldog.com/…/river-bank-planting-well-ahe…/
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FARMINGTON — More than 200 first responders, volunteers, hospital and university staff and emergency management overseers participated in a mass casualty exercise near High Street Friday morning.
The drill, the first of its kind on a college campus in Maine, consisted of an active shooter at the University of Maine at Farmington, with multiple casualties and hostages. Further complicating the scenario was the deployment of a explosive device in a vehicle at the Olson Student Center parking lot, a tactic that Maine Emergency Management Agency trainers overseeing the drill said had been used by shooters in the past.
The exercise began as dispatchers received a report of an active shooter in Preble Hall, with the initial law enforcement officers responding immediately. Soon after arriving, a smoke bomb set off by MEMA detonated in a red SUV just off of High Street. Victims of the blast quickly arrived and arrayed themselves around the smoking SUV.
Ambulances and fire engines arrived, as an Emergency Operations Center was set up at the Farmington Fire Station. Wilton Police Chief Heidi Wilcox was appointed incident commander; the presumption is that UMF Public Safety Chief Brock Caton and Farmington Police Chief Jack Peck would be among the first responders to an incident.
In Preble Hall, the shooter, played by acting Jay Police Chief Richard Caton IV, is cornered on the second floor and shot with a training gun by his brother, Chief Brock Caton. Ambulances arrive at the end of South Street, awaiting word that it’s safe to begin evacuating victims. Meanwhile, Farmington Fire Rescue on High Street use a loudspeaker to address victims scattered around the red SUV.
“If you are a victim, and you can walk,” the firefighter says, “walk to us.”
Franklin Memorial Hospital receives word about the incident and puts its emergency plans into effect, including security for the anticipated flood of injured. At the Mt. Blue Campus, emergency management set up a Family Assistance Center, where students will be bused from UMF to make contact with their families.
There are curve balls, of course. A car accident on the Wilton Road diverts resources. A woman at the Family Assistance Center goes into cardiac arrest as another victim has a nervous breakdown and needs to be restrained.
Word arrives that Preble Hall has been declared “warm;” it’s a crime scene, but safe for EMTs to enter. Ambulances arrive and line up down high street, backboards laid in rows. The first EMTs in the building are triaging, marking victims with tags that distinguish their status: yellow is injured, red is critical and black is dead. Police officers accompany each EMT and ambulance, carrying distinctive blue training guns.
“It takes time to get all of your resources set up,” Franklin County Emergency Management Agency Director Tim Hardy said, watching the EMTs escort victims from Preble Hall, “but things seem to be going well.”
Communications are challenging, as always. Personal radios don’t always carry to dispatch or incident command, agencies used to operating on a single frequency must monitor multiple networks and cell phone availability is dubious, given the amount of traffic that accompanies a shooting incident.
“No matter how much money we put into radios,” Farmington Fire Rescue Chief Terry Bell said during the debriefing that followed the exercise, “we’re never going to totally solve the communication problem.”
Communication was one of the hardest things to do well, MEMA exercise director Scott Parker said, but he thought Franklin County’s responders had done well. There are small issues, like cell phones not functioning throughout portions of Mt. Blue Campus, and bigger ones, like FMH not being notified promptly enough to anticipate injuries. The agencies involved with the drill will take what worked and what didn’t and use it as part of their ongoing training.
“This is all about making partnerships,” Hardy said. “This is something new, and for these folks to assist us and open the campus up for these exercises, I really want to applaud UMF.”
A number of other colleges sent observers to watch the exercise, which lasted approximately two hours.
The drill represented 18 months of planning, going back to a tabletop exercise conducted at UMF on April 4, 2013. Personnel spent a day discussing simulated scenarios and possible responses. This was taken to the next level on Aug. 8, 2013, when a functional exercise was conducted. In that case, communication protocols were tested through having the different responding agencies coordinate a response out of separate rooms.
Article courtesy of our local online newspaper: www.dailybulldog.com
The University of Maine at Farmington, in partnership with area emergency responders and associate facilities, is sponsoring a Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program training event on Friday, Aug. 8, on the UMF campus. This training exercise will provide a simulated, low-risk emergency scenario to help prepare first responders, University personnel and the community to work together in case of a real-life emergency.
This exercise is the first, full-scale, HSEEP training event of its kind in Maine. It is the culmination of 18 months of pre-planning during which the University sponsored two smaller training events, including a table-top and functional exercise.
Prior to the event, on Thursday, Aug. 7, law enforcement, emergency medical services and fire protection services vehicles and resources will be staged near the campus in preparation for the next day’s exercise.
On Aug. 8, the day of the event, members of the public can expect to see numerous emergency vehicles and hear noises similar to fireworks for a brief time. Volunteers will serve as actors with simulated injuries. They will be transported to the area hospital participating in the exercise.
In addition, the public may encounter road closures around the campus as local law enforcement personnel control scene access to ensure the safety of participants and the public.
This exercise is being conducted by UMF with the assistance of the Maine Emergency Management Agency, Franklin County Emergency Management Agency and other emergency response personnel.
Additional information on the exercise and road closures will be available closer to the event. For more information, please call the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency at 207-778-5892.
Are you prepared for spring flooding?
Even with all of the frozen snow and ice covering the countryside right now, spring warm up is just around the corner. Spring has arrived even if temperatures are still cold! A sudden warm up can cause melting water from snow and ice and can become a problem very quickly.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, be prepared! Even if you don’t live in a Maine floodplain, there are precautions you should take to protect your home and business from flood damage and loss:
- Be aware of hazards that can increase the potential for flooding – including flash flooding (heavy rain events, spring run off, ice jams, hurricanes, earthquakes, dam failure)
- Know the flood prone areas in your community (including dam locations).
The power of flood water is incredible. Six inches of fast moving flood water can knock over an adult. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. You cannot know the depth of water or condition of the ground under water, especially at night!
- DO NOT Drive Around Road Barricades.
- DO NOT Drive Through Flooded Roadways.
- Listen to warnings! A Flood Watch is issued when flooding is possible within the next 36 hours. A Flood Warning indicates that flooding is imminent or is currently occurring.
- During the flood stay tuned to radio or TV to get the latest information.
- Have a personal evacuation and communications plan. Pay attention to evacuation orders. Know where and how to seek sheltering in the event of evacuation.
- Check with your insurance agent about flood insurance coverage NOW; most homeowners insurance does not cover floods. Your agent should be able to help you secure insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Learn how to “flood proof” your home. If you have a basement that floods each year, make preparations! Move the contents of the basement up off the floor. Contact your furnace repair technician for ways to prevent damage to your heating system. Check with an electrician for dangerous wiring. Maintain ditches and drainage around the home so water will run away from it. Follow the directions of a caregiver or family member who is urging you to leave.
Citizen Alert System
Maine.gov’s Citizen Alert System has been established as a way for Maine state government to keep the public informed about events that may impact public health or safety. Information issued through the Maine.gov Citizen Alert System is provided directly from authorized state government officials.
We encourage you to check the Maine.gov home page to verify whether an urgent event is occurring and to get information about the event and any precautions or actions you should take. A special icon and text appears near the top left of the page. When an alert is in effect, the alert area will turn red, and the text next to the link will indicate an active alert.
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