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Updated 11:22 A.M.:Town Plans To Have One Emergency Shelter Located At High School

October 31, 2011 by John Rook

Cheshire Fire Chief Jack Casner stated that those seeking emergency shelter would most likely be moved to Cheshire High School as the town braces for an extended period without electricity.
As of now, two centers have been opened in town: one at the Cheshire Senior Center and another at Cheshire High School, located at 525 Main Street. Town Executive Assistant and Public Information Officer Arnett Talbot stated that the CHS center was opened after the Senior Center reached near capacity last night. However, Casner stated that those at the Senior Center would most likely be moved to CHS.
"We are expecting this to take a while," said Casner, who stated that CHS has showers that could be beneficial to citizens seeking help.
Those details will be finalized at a 12 p.m. meeting between Town emergency service officials, Casner stated. Afterward, the Fire Department plans to send out a Code Red announcement. One was sent yesterday to inform residents as to what was taking place.
Casner indicated that, in the last 48 hours the Fire Department responded to roughly 100 emergency calls, ranging from downed trees and power lines to carbon monoxide issues. Some homes in Cheshire were severely damaged as a result of fallen trees, Casner said, and a few were deemed "uninhabitable."
There was word that some power had been restored to the west side of Cheshire, although Casner could not confirm that. Also, he reminded everyone to be extremely cautious when traveling on roads.
He also asked that motorists take precautions when driving on main roads as few traffic lights are working.
"People need to treat them as stop signs," he said.
Earlier this morning, Talbot stated that CL&P was scheduled to update Town Manager Michael Milone on restoration work sometime Monday, although there was no time set as to when that discussion would take place.
"They are obviously very busy," stated Talbot.
However, last night CL&P did confirm what had been posted on its website for much of the day: that 92 percent of Cheshire was without power. Talbot stated that officials indicated no restoration would begin until this morning, and that there were still roads closed due to downed trees and power lines. Talbot stated that the lines remain dangerous, however barriers have been placed around any that remain on the ground.
No timeframe was given as to when Cheshire could expect to see the electricity turned back on, or which areas of town would be worked on first.
Town Hall, along with the Police and Fire departments, are all open as they are running on generators. However, other town buildings, such as the Public Library and Parks and Recreation, which do not have generators, are closed.
Talbot asked that anyone who plans to go to one of the emergency shelters call (203) 272-8286 first to let personnel know you are coming and to be directed to the appropriate location. Also, residents are encouraged to bring all essentials with them, including medication and, if possible, pillows and blankets.
The shelters will be opened "as long as necessary," Talbot indicated.
While the Town has not offered an official statement regarding Halloween trick or treating tonight, Talbot asked that parents be "thoughtful" when deciding whether their children should go out and take safety into account.

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