This will be the final update on the ice storm. The town is now back to normal operations, but the paperwork is continuing to build. On Tuesday, February 10, 1998, The Androscoggin County Unified Emergency Management Agency will be conducting a debriefing on the storm. Attending this meeting will be emergency and municipal officials to review what went well and what could be improved for response to storms in the future. On February 12, 1998, a FEMA inspector will begin the process of reviewing the town's costs of responding to the storm. As the bills continue to pile up, we are expecting to be reimbursed for a total of 90% of the cost. An early estimate of the damages were around $65,000, however this may be considerably higher.
The response to the storm from an emergency management standpoint went as well as could be expected. Early preparedness allowed us to have some equipment and facilities available to respond to the storm. The shelter operation went well, as over 300 different people used the facility for showering, water, hot meals, and a warm place to stay. Though only a total of 63 people actually stayed overnight, a total of 136 different people remained overnight through the 11 days the shelter was open. We did experience a few problems at the shelter. The main problem was with emergency power. Though the school has an emergency generator, this generator was not hooked up to the kitchen's refridgeration system, and only 2 outlets throughout the whole school had electrical power. In addition, an automatic shutoff switch with no manual bypass, inhibited the staff from cooking on the schools propane stoves. Major rewiring and modifications to the system are planned in the next budget. Hopefully, we will be better equipped in the future.
At the beginning of the storm, the Fire Station/EOC generator failed due to a ruptured radiator hose. This overheated the unit, but it did not sieze. This 30-40 year old generator is in needs of being replaced, and plans are being made to replace it in the upcoming budget. Thankfully, early decision making allowed us to acquire the last generator (25Kw) available in the area. This had to be transported from Massachusetts. We have used this generator as backup power to the Fire Station/EOC throughout the event. Without it, the emergency services personnel would have had to stay at the fire station without heat or lights. If this were the case, these volunteers may not have been staying at the station overnight. Because of their dedication, the Fire Department was able to save 3 homes from structure fires during a 12 hour period.
In the coming months, I will be putting together a review of the events that took place here in Poland, as well as the State of Maine. It is my hope that we will never again have to go through one of these events, but if we do, we will be better prepared.
I would like to thank all of the people who assisted during the emergency. From our emergency services personnel, to the people who volunteered to work at the shelter. As a whole, we all pitched in to help our neighbors endure through this event, and because of this, we made it through just fine. Thank You!
Asst. EMA Director/Selectman
Things in Poland have wound down, after the initial response. Over the weekend, a second ice storm occurred here, but damage was minimal. The town experienced some sporadic outages, including the Fire Station, which was placed on generator power. Strong winds knocked out power in other areas as well. The shelter was on standby, but was not needed. I have alsoupdated the statistics below. These are indicated with a "**"
On the left, is a graphic of the counties that have been included in the Presidential Disaster Declaration (source-FEMA)
Event Begins: 1/7/98 (Official FEMA beginning is 1/5/98)
Event Ends: Ongoing Current Phase: Recovery
Population Effects: 0 Dead 8 Injured 0 Missing 12 Evacuated
Emergency Shelter: (Poland Community School) Opened 1/8/98 at 3:00 PM Closed 1/19/98 at 12:00 PM
Total Registered: 136 people Peak Occupancy: 75 people
Emergency Operations Center: Activated 1/8/98 at 0800 Current Status: Stand-By
Precipitation: Began Falling 1/7/98 at 11:00 AM and continued until 1/10/98 at 7:00 AM
Total Rainfall: 2.43" Total Ice Accumulation: 1.5"
Power Outage: Town Wide Current Status: 100% restored**
Phone Outages: Sporadic Current Status: Operational
From 1/8/98 to 1/26/98**, The Poland Fire Department Responded to 113 Calls**. Highlights include:
3 Structure Fires
7 Chimney Fires**
51 Wire-Down Calls**
17 Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Calls**
During the same period, Poland Rescue transported several people to the hospital. These included:
8 for Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Total Public Damages: $93,275.29
Current Estimated Private Damages: $20,500
Total Estimated Damages in Poland: $113,775.29 (as of 2/13/98)
The Town of Poland, along with most of Maine experienced a severe ice storm that caused extensive damage to trees, homes, and powerlines. The freezing rain began falling on January 7th and continued until January 10th. Total rainfall during the period was 2.43", with 1.5" of that accumulating on outside surfaces.
The Town's Emergency Operations Center located at the Poland Fire/Rescue Station on January 8th. Later that afternoon, the Emergency Shelter was opened at the Poland Community School by local Red Cross volunteers. In all, a total of 136 people were registered between the 8th and the 19th. At its peak, the shelter occupancy was 75, and was operating on generator power. The shelter was officially closed on the 19th at 12 Noon.
Electrical power was knocked out across the entire town, and as of tonight only 50% has been restored after 13 days. Central Maine Power and other crews from as far away as Virginia have been working round the clock to restore power to residents of the area. Some areas of Poland are expected to be without power for an additional week, with a projected date of January 28th-30th.
This is one of the biggest emergency events to affect the town ever....
For a complete report, you can purchase a copy of the report "Ice Storm of 1998" for $20.00.
This 73 page report contains statistics, pictures, chronologies, and other information on the effects here in Poland, ME as well as across the area. Cost of the report is for copying and postage. E-mail me, Wayne Cotterly to obtain a copy of the report. A copy of the report is also available at the Ricker Memorial Library in Poland, ME.
Asst. Director, Poland EMA
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Copyright 1998-2002, Wayne Cotterly
Page Revised: 10/17/2002
All Pictures, Copyright 1998, Wayne Cotterly