HARTFORD- State Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113) testified this week regarding Connecticut’s response to a declared state of emergency and a need for a preparedness plan.
Perillo along with the House Republican Caucus has proposed an emergency preparedness proposal which would seek to enhance cooperation and improve coordination of services.
The bill requires the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) to collaborate with the Military Department, any other state agency, and Community Emergency Response Teams for the purpose of developing an Emergency Preparedness Plan to maximize state and local resources.
“We also heard complaints from our municipalities regarding jurisdictional concerns. During the October storm for example, there were local crews working in areas removing debris or wreckage from local roads, but these crews were unable to do the same for state owned roads. As a result, residents and commuters along state roads had to wait longer to get their power restored, said Perillo.
“We’re told in many instances, the local crews would have been more than happy to assist in the effort and so state resources could have been deployed to other areas. This bill addresses those concerns by having state and local governments create and implement a plan regarding jurisdictional control during emergencies,” said Perillo.
The legislation calls for real life training with simulated drills performed on a regular basis. Local, regional and state support units should clearly know their roles, properly communicate the status of their progress, and be proficiently in their tasks.
In 2011, Connecticut was hit by Tropical Storm Irene and by the October Nor’easter which brought widespread property damage to electric utilities, state and municipal infrastructure, and private properties. The storm brought to light that current emergency response plans were inadequate to meet the health and safety needs of our residents. As a result, recovery took days longer and the public trust in our state’s ability to respond to emergencies was eroded.
“It’s clear from the two storms that training and coordination among all parties needs to be addressed and advanced,” said Perillo.