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Town Officials: Brookline's Hurricane Prep Paid Off

Brookline officials reported to the Selectmen at last night's meeting.

Yesterday's hurricane pounded the town with winds, left hundreds without power and brought a number of tree limbs to the ground--it even caused a transformer explosion. 

Emergency operatives were working from early morning until late at night, and town workers are still working around the clock. Brookline's various departments were prepared, officials told the Board of Selectmen at last night's meeting. 

Police Chief Daniel O'Leary said that the town's emergency operations center was open from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and brought together personnel from the Brookline Fire Department, Police Department and Department of Public Works to monitor and respond to the situation.

"These are the times when inter-deptartmental communication works to the benefit of the citizens of Brookline." DPW Commissioner Andrew Pappistergion said, "This is one of the prime examples."

Each call was received by police dispatch, which had an additional staffer on the day of Hurricane Sandy. The center started receiving calls at about 9 a.m., which picked up around noon and lightened around 7 p.m., O'Leary told the Selectmen. 

Pappistergion added, "yesterday’s event was primarily a wind event. Although, once the wind started to die down, that’s when the rain started to ramp up."

The majority of the calls were tree related, and Pappistergion said they received 181 incidents of tree damage--of which 26 were town trees uprooted or knocked down, and six private trees.

After the winds started to die down, the town saw around 50 small, localized floods, mostly related to catch basins clogged with leaves.

"It's that time of year," Pappistergion explained. 

At the worst of the hurricane, NSTAR reported about 475 customers without power just after the EOC closed, Pappistergion reported. By the morning, that number was down to 187.

"We still had some response issues with NSTAR, which we will continue to work out," Pappsitergion added. "They did better [than with last year's weather events], I think we can still do better at it."

Chief O'Leary also noted that an emergency generator and emergency management trailer were available, but were not needed. The trailer could also be used as an emergency shelter. 

The town did not need to open Brookline's emergency shelters.

Selectman Jesse Mermell commented, "A piece of this is luck, but we obviously fared much better than some in terms of response."

Mermell added that the only complaint she had heard was from one citizen who said a DPW worker had removed branches from her car, and left before the vehicle owner could thank him.

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