Editorial: Hats off to our friends and neighbors in emergency services

Editorial: Hats off to our friends and neighbors in emergency services

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Commenter dondondon12 wrote this week, “I don’t know what Nstar is doing, but i hope they keep doing it.. I am astounded the power stayed on during this weather event.. perhaps they are investing in their infrastructure, and doing maintenance. Great job and many thanks to nstar….”

It’s a common view among Islanders, one justified by the relative success of the Vineyard’s tangle with the northeast blizzard that stopped by this weekend, and it may be extended to all the committed first responders on whom we depend. Advance warning, sound preparation, and a practiced familiarity with what 70 miles an hour of northeast wind and 24 hours of snow can do is the key. Add to that the fact that, across the six towns, we’re all hearty and clever, for the most part.

The high state of readiness was owing to the practical, practiced, professionalism of police, fire, EMS, Red Cross, and other emergency personnel and first responders, on whom we know we can always depend. And at rock bottom to the great good sense of Islanders.

As the online commenter noted, NSTAR’s year-round maintenance, its storm preparation, its quick action when power fails, whatever the reason, meant that despite the probability that electric power would be out for substantial parts of the Island for substantial amounts of time during and after such a storm, that was not the case. Power failures were limited and, though inconvenient, not common or destructive here, although Cape Cod and other parts of the state were less fortunate.

The Times believes that its website, mvtimes.com, can be useful to Islanders in advance of and during such events as this weekend’s storm. The site’s ability to disperse news and information of an emergency nature is considerable, but it depends on a steady, authoritative supply of news Islanders can use. The first responders — all those mentioned above — are reliable sources of the information we and you need. But, in the region’s emergency management apparatus, there are missing pieces, broken links, dispersed and delayed information sources, and consequently, confusion. That needs to be corrected. Cooperation among towns and between the county and the towns needs to be more effective and timely.

We find that we can depend without question on the police, the fire departments, EMS, the Red Cross, and other professional first responders. If there is to be Island-wide emergency management, it needs to be run and coordinated by leadership whose good sense, like that of our neighbors and friends, can be counted on to provide just the necessary, helpful, and timely information. There is great value in such an apparatus, if it can be achieved.

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