Representatives of six towns and several organizations in central Lincoln County met at the Damariscotta Fire Department on Thursday, Aug. 18 to participate in a tabletop exercise focusing on how they would respond to a Category 1 hurricane.
Officials from Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Newcastle, Nobleboro, and South Bristol, as well as representatives of the Central Lincoln County Ambulance Service, the Great Salt Bay Sanitary District, the Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency, and LincolnHealth participated in the exercise.
The tabletop exercise was the first of a new cooperative emergency management effort between the six towns.
Emergency management directors from the six towns have previously met to discuss how the towns could work together in the event of a natural disaster or other major emergency.
A formal agreement was developed to be signed by each town’s board of selectmen. Under the agreement, the emergency management directors, public safety officials, and other municipal officials from each town would work together to develop recommendations to be used in the event of an area-wide response.
The recommendations of the group, which would be known as the Central Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency Committee, would also include designating a centrally located facility to be used as an emergency shelter.
The scenario for the Aug. 18 tabletop exercise was a Category 1 hurricane named Hurricane Tod approaching the Midcoast. Participants were asked to consider how they would respond to a number of scenarios, including responding to emergency medical calls, dealing with downed wires, setting up warming centers and emergency shelters, and disseminating information to the public.
Anthony Norman, a state-certified firefighter instructor; Ken Desmond, president of the Maine State Federation of Firefighters; and Lincoln County EMA and Communications Director Tod Hartung presented the scenarios for discussion.
John Cannon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, updated participants with the weather report during the exercise.
Damariscotta Civil Emergency Preparedness Director Steve O’Bryan said he plans to continue meeting with the other town officials and emergency management directors to finalize plans for a shelter and locate people to be trained to run the shelter. He also hopes to have tabletop exercises once a year.
“I think it went great,” O’Bryan said. “It’s good to have all the players here to participate and get to know each other.”