HANSON — Representatives of town and regional departments have begun work to identify potential emergency situations triggered by climate change as part of an effort to obtain action grant funding to address some of the deficiencies.
Laurie Muncie of the Old Colony Planning Council joined her successor as Hanson Town Planner Deborah Pettey to conduct the meeting for the officials to lay the groundwork for a day-long Municipal Vulnerability Priorities (MVP) workshop at Camp Kiwanee from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday, Feb. 7. Friday, Feb. 28 will be the rain date.
Pettey, who said she welcomed participants to attend even if they could not devote an entire day to it, stressed their input is important as she is not a Hanson native and does not know the entire history of the town.
“I need this information to make the best report and the best plan that we can for the town,” she said.
The Thursday, Jan. 9 planning session also discussed their top four environmental concerns for Hanson.
The session ranked their four major climate concerns ahead of the February workshop: wind, flooding, drought and, potentially, extreme temperatures.
“Flooding should be on the list,” said Conservation Commission chairman Phil Clemons. “I don’t know that it’s ahead of wind, though.”
He noted the impact of wind bring trees down on power lines as a frequent concern.
“It just seems kind of artificial to force ourselves to think of things separately,” Clemons said.
“Wind and trees … are a higher concern than even rain,” Muncie agreed.
While a concern, flooding is mainly responsible for road washouts and is not as big an issue as it would be in coastal communities, Clemons said.
Drought is another contributor to downed trees that cause damage, Pettey said.
Muncie noted that the lack of a generator at the Hanson Senior Center is an important concern during power outages, and is at the top of her list of grant priorities. Capacity of generators for long-term use must also be considered, officials said.
“A long-term power outage is a real burden for a lot of demographics,” Pettey said. “Whether you’re elderly or whether you’re handicapped or whether you have small children, a long-term power outage is going to cause quite an impact.”
Communications during a power outage was also discussed.
“Have you driven through Hanson center with your cell phone?” asked WHRSD Facilities Director Ernest Sandland.
“That’s a normal day,” Muncie said.
Sandland noted that the new cell tower planned for a portion of the Middle School property is aimed at helping the situation. Pettey said the ZBA approved the plan Tuesday, Jan. 7.
She was asked if emergency services communications would be included on the tower and indicated that was her understanding, but that she was uncertain. A representative of the Hanson Fire Department said the present cell tower “carries everything along with the sheriff” department radio communications and present no problems.