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Hingham back to normal following Sandy

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 31, 2012 04:18 PM

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Hingham has returned to normal operations on Wednesday, after suffering minimal damage from Hurricane Sandy on Monday night.

Although a debriefing of Monday’s storm response won’t be until mid-November, so far, officials are pleased with how the town worked together throughout the event.

“All departments were extremely aggressive in being prepared, fire department staffed up…. DPW did a great job, light department did a great job -- overall I was very pleased with the town’s response,” said Fire Chief Mark Duff, who is the head of the town’s Emergency Operations Center. “We were one of the first towns to be back 100 percent.”

As of early Tuesday morning, all of the town’s power had been restored; homes that had wires ripped directly from their homes are the only ones still without power.

Though things went well, Duff acknowledged that there was some room for improvement, including the difficulty with the new dispatch center – which provides services to four towns.

“They got a lot of calls, they were concerned about the amount of calls. There are eight dispatch positions where people can operate out of. Since the first time it’s been up, last Nov. 1, this is the first time when all eight positions were staffed. Generally, they staff four to five, but this time, they did all eight and were all busy. It’s something to look at,” Duff said

Duff also said the town needs to do better at getting information out to the public.

During the event, Assistant Town Administrator Betty Foley was assigned the job of handling press inquiries; however, announcements on the town’s webpage were few and far between.

“Though we did very well, there is always room for improvement,” Duff said.

Beyond the town’s response during the storm, Duff was complimentary of the work departments did to prepare for the event.

In addition to the planning and meetings, trees were adequately trimmed back to minimize damage.

“The light [department] and DPW have good tree -rimming program. Makes a big difference,” Duff said.

While the town’s response was categorized as speedy, Duff did recognize that Hingham did not receive the brunt of the storm.

Catch basins has little flooding when the rain hit the town at 8:30 p.m. Monday, and the peak wind was 46 mph at Central Fire Station. Last year, Tropical Storm Irene brought gusts 10 mph higher.

Elsewhere, DPW crews on Wednesday were working on trimming trees on town property that had sustained any damage. Though it’s tangentially related to the storm, the trimming is also normal maintenance, Foley said.

That work will continue for the next couple of days.

The Transfer Station also accepted brush and yard waste today to help with storm clean up.

Halloween will carry on as expected.

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