Friday, March 21, 2008
BOH buys emergency generator
The Board of Health (BOH) recently purchased a small, used generator as part of an emergency preparedness initiative to equip the school as a public shelter and emergency dispensing site. The board used $800 of grant funding to purchase the equipment, after spending $3,600 last fall on wiring and a transfer switch. The generator is powered by natural gas and will tap into the school’s fuel line. According to Carlisle School Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds David Flannery, it will be able to power the well pump and compressor to supply water for all the buildings. The toilets will also function. BOH member Bill Risso believes it will also allow for light and heat in two classrooms in the Wilkins Building. Before it becomes operational, Flannery explained that the Department of Environmental Protection must approve its location within Zone 1 of the well. A cement pad also needs to be installed and additional wiring run.
After 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security began an effort to incorporate public health into regional emergency response plans. The Communicable Disease Center (CDC) is encouraging state programs including planning for emergency dispensing sites. This year Carlisle received a $6,500 federal emergency preparedness grant to prepare for “pandemic flu,” or more broadly prepare for public medical care in emergencies.
Risso explained that an emergency dispensing site would be used if the BOH were instructed to vaccinate residents in response to a pandemic flu. At a dispensing site, “people would flow in and get their paperwork done, a doctor would look at them, they would get the medicine or vaccines, and they would leave.”
Originally, the school’s Corey Building was chosen for the emergency dispensing site. Risso said that the next step, if additional federal grant money becomes available, would be to purchase a second generator “so we would have heat and light there too.”
A dispensing site might only be in service for a few days, whereas an emergency shelter might be needed for a longer period. Town officials are also considering a much larger generator with an independent fuel source that would power an emergency shelter on the school campus during a regional emergency when gas lines might be interrupted. The cost of this type of backup system, including fuel storage tanks, would be closer to half a million dollars. The BOH has not found a grant of this size, but school officials are considering including the more powerful generator in the proposed school expansion project. ∆
© 2008 The