The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fast response helps Carlisle in ice storm

Carlisle coped well with last week’s rain and ice storm. Three telephone poles and wires on West Street were knocked down by trees and the street was closed until late Saturday when Verizon and NSTAR crews were able to replace the poles. Lowell and Westford Streets also sustained considerable tree damage and wires down.

The police log for Friday, December 12, tells the storm story accurately. According to DPW’s Gary Davis, the west side of town received the hardest hit.

Excellent response by utilities

There was some local flooding, but water receded by the end of the day according to Davis. DPW crews were still cleaning up brush on Monday, but DPW was able to keep up with the storm using a full crew which worked overtime.

Police chief John Sullivan said, “We were very lucky,” and cited the “unbelievable response” of NSTAR, Verizon, the DPW and the Fire Department. Eight to nine NSTAR trucks were in town at one time and it was Sullivan’s feeling that Carlisle had been well treated.

Police flooded with 911 calls

The greatest problem for police was not the overwhelming number of telephone calls; it was that inappropriate calls were coming in on the 911 line. By law, 911 calls are emergency calls and may be made in three circumstances only: a medical emergency, a fire emergency or a crime in progress. Sullivan put on an extra dispatcher for four hours to handle the 40-50 calls that came in within a four-hour period. Many of these came in as 911 calls about a fallen tree or loose wires. Both Sullivan and chief dispatcher Mike Taplin say that storm damage reports are more appropriately sent to the Carlisle police phone, 369-1155.

NSTAR, Keyspan, Verizon and Comcast have their own emergency numbers. Police routinely report power outages and pole damage to the appropriate companies, but contrary to popular opinion, police do not have access to the repair schedule and status of the reported damage repair. The utility companies themselves often furnish this information when they have been contacted directly.∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito