As a Town Board, we wish we could tell you that we are finished with natural disasters. We wish we could say that there will be no more ice storms, no more wind storms, no pandemic. It would be great if we could tell you that no terrorist activity could possibly affect our area. We wish we could tell you that we, or the county, or state, or federal government would take care of you in a widespread crisis. We can not.
It's a simple thing, really. Disasters have and will continue to happen. Some small, like this January's windstorm, some medium, like the ice storm of '98, and some large like the pandemic in 1918. And always, some people care enough to prepare, and some do not. Some are prepared to care for and help their neighbors, and some are a burden to their neighbors. That's the way it is and always has been, to pretend otherwise is silly.
We are asking that you care enough to prepare. We are asking that you prepare to care for those around you. We are asking that you put yourself at a level of self sufficiency that you will not be a burden to your neighbors, but a resource and help to them.
In recent memory, each of the disasters we've had has been such that we were able to get help from areas not affected by that disaster. In the '98 ice storm, for instance, we received support from as far away as Tennessee. They were able to help because they were not affected by the ice storm. But what happens if there is a national level calamity like a multiple-site weapon of mass destruction (WMD) attack or a pandemic? We will be on our own. Every community, every household, will need to take care of itself, and cannot count on help from elsewhere. As a Town Board, we believe Brighton can handle that, if enough of us care to prepare. And, if we're prepared for a disaster of this scale, these little Adirondack wind/ice storms we have, will be nothing to us. Being without electricity or phone for three or four days will be a managed adventure rather than a scary and risky challenge.
After the ice storm of '98, Franklin County Emergency Services requested that each town in the county write a working disaster plan. Only two towns did, Brighton was not one of them. So last year, the Brighton Town Board created a town-wide disaster plan which is now recorded with the County and ready to go. It was a sobering exercise for those who researched and wrote it. As we consulted respected experts, for instance, we learned just how unavoidable an eventual large scale disaster or pandemic is, and how devastating they can be, even with all of our modern equipment and medicines. As we were working on the plan, we realized how little we really have to draw upon here in Brighton, other than ourselves. We have no grocery stores with deep inventory, we have no school building to shelter people, and we have no medical clinic. Yes, as a community, we are a force to be reckoned with, but to be as ready as we need to be, we need your help.
The Brighton Town Board is requesting that each resident is prepared to be as self-sufficient as is reasonably affordable to you. Nationally, depending on the source, we see respectable recommendations for self sufficiency for no less than two weeks for localized natural disasters, to as long as 12 weeks for pandemic or widespread WMD attack. You have to make your own decision, but we ask that you inform yourself, as we have. Please.
Yes, we know we may get the "sky is falling" label from some. You can be sure that we have thought of that, and as unpleasant as it might be, we would rather accept that label from people who react emotionally to this letter than live with having not advised you wisely based upon what we have learned. Dig into some learning based on facts rather emotional opinion before you write this off as unneeded fear-mongering. We've included resources for you to do so. And, please, don't hesitate to contact any Board member if you'd like to discuss things further.
Those who are prepared, and able to be self sufficient, avoid the need to be a burden to their neighbors and to the town's limited resources. Those who prepare especially well, create the situation where they are able to be a help to others who need it.
Both the federal and state governments have repeatedly warned that in the case of a major national crisis such as a pandemic like the one in 1918, all responses and resources must be local. That's us. You, and your immediate neighbors. Not Malone, not Albany, and certainly not Washington.
Because our heating season is so long, we're asking you to make sure you can go extended times with no electricity from a utility, and still have heat and running water. If you can not…we ask that you have a back up housing plan in place for yourself and any pets you may have. Do not wait until the disaster happens to figure this out, plan now. Know where you will go, know who you can help.
The Red Cross has advised us that pets are not allowed in disaster shelters so please have a plan for your pet(s). Our current disaster shelter is at Camp Gabriels, and as you know, we may loose it, so it is better for you to plan to not need it.
Enclosed is a list of items that we feel are necessary, at a minimum in order to be efficiently prepared.
We're also putting together a list of residents that might need extra assistance, our Senior Citizens and any others. Enclosed is a list that we'd like everyone to fill out and return at your earliest convenience so we may compile the information into one easily accessed list.
We'd like to have community volunteers in each area of our Town, someone willing to be responsible for checking on all the neighbors in the event of a disaster where we may not have phones. Someone willing to go door to door to check on folks and who would report back to Incident Command (the Town Hall or fire dept.) any needs that residents have. If you're willing to fulfill this responsibility, please indicate on the form that you'll be filling out
We also want to know what resources are out there... who has what equipment, skill, supplies, shelter that they'd be willing to offer. Let us know and we'll put it on a "community resources" list to draw upon.
Let's spend some time pre-planning, because after January's wind storm that left some of our residents without power for up to 3 days, we all know it's not a matter of "if", rather "when", the next disaster is going to hit.
After the Gabriels Post Office fire, we were once again reminded of what an incredibly strong, giving, supportive community we are, both for the Hadynski family and in saving our Post Office. We want to energize that same spirit to drive preparation and independence. We need your help to do so.
We're very proud to be a part of this community and honored that you've chosen us to support you.