Killington stocks shelter
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Writer | January 07,2013
KILLINGTON — The town is refurbishing its emergency shelter at Killington Elementary School.
The American Red Cross is providing cots, blankets, water, an emergency radio and lighting along with two and a half hours of training on shelter operations for the volunteers who will run the site if an emergency strikes.
Town Planner Dick Norris said Killington did have some cots and blankets when Tropical Storm Irene hit, but “not a lot.” Fortunately, he said, the town managed without them.
“It turned out we didn’t really need emergency sheltering overnight because we didn’t lose power and we didn’t have a lot of structural damage,” he said.
However, Norris said Irene brought to mind other circumstances under which the town might want a better-equipped shelter.
“When we had the ice storm 10, 12 years ago and we lost a lot of power,” he said. “It’s those situations where people need to get in some place warm for the night. That’s when it’s going to be important.”
The town also got a $35,620 state grant for an emergency generator at the shelter. That grant has a 50 percent local match which is being split by the town and the school.
Larry Kupferman, coordinator of the Red Cross’s Local Disaster Shelter Initiative, said the organization had installed shelters in about a dozen towns, primarily in southern Vermont, but also along the Connecticut River Valley and in Chittenden County.
“It’s a matter of coming forward,” he said. “The Red Cross will provide this training and these materials to — what’s budgeted is half the towns in the state. ... There are about 25 towns now I’m in discussions with. It’s a matter of scheduling the delivery of the goods and the training. The towns I’ve been working with are the ones that have a very active emergency preparedness group. It’s self-selected right now.”
While it has been rare for Vermont towns to need to operate shelters, Kupferman said it has been happening more in recent years.
“One thing we’ve discovered is that the geography, the way the state is laid out, does not mean the towns will necessarily shelter their own residents,” he said. “While this is meant to serve municipalities, municipalities need to see it’s not going to be restricted to their citizenry”
Kupferman said the program is entirely funded by donations, with no state or federal money.