One Year Later: Vienna addresses problems

EDITOR’S NOTE: A storm of historical proportions struck the Mid-Ohio Valley at about 6:30 p.m. June 29, 2012.

The derecho, a storm of intense and destructive wind, did massive damage to the electrical service grid, causing numerous power outages that lasted days and weeks in some cases.

Local officials took additional measures to insure basic services such as water and sewer would not be interrupted.

Emergency planners studied and improve their ability to respond to such a disaster.

Saturday, Sunday and today, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel has taken a look back at the storm and what was learned from it.

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VIENNA – Mayor Randy Rapp and other city officials said Vienna learned a lot from the derecho in 2012.

The city now believes it is properly prepared for anything else Mother Nature could conjure up.

Rapp said the Vienna police and fire departments and public works department have learned what equipment is essential in a disaster situation and what the infrastructure was lacking.

“Communication was the key problem,” Rapp said of the aftermath of last year’s storm.

Upgrades to the city’s meter system and water tanks have proven a beneficial factor to disaster preparation, officials said.

The Vienna Volunteer Fire Department noticed its lack in chainsaws, Fire Chief Steve Scholl said. The fire department was lacking chainsaws and manpower during the storm, he said.

A new fire rescue truck purchased last year will come in handy should another disaster strike, Scholl added.

Radio communication, battery backups and additional generators were needed, Rapp said.

The Vienna Police Department experienced a lack in communication between officers when they weren’t able to power their radios. The city addressed the problem so the police department can be better prepared and help residents become more informed on where to go in the event of disaster.

Vienna experienced a smell from residents putting out rotten food during the storm. Rapp said the city now plans to have a system in place for residents to dispose of spoiled food in the event of an emergency.

Five additional generators were purchased as backups for the city while the new sewage plant will take the capacity of water per gallon from 600,000 to 1 million.

“We want to be ready from the minute it happens,” Rapp said.

Rapp said residents should not worry about the potential for any future danger, because city officials are better prepared.

“Take care of your family and we’ll take care of the city,” he said.