As Hurricane Sandy rolled through the area, it brought high winds, tested the response plan of National Grid and even tested some changes Wrentham Town officials made in how it communicates. Sandy's punch brought down trees and power lines, but it did not compare to the storms Wrentham experienced in 2011. Still, the Hurricane did cause power outages. As of 8 p.m. Monday night, there were 181 National Grid customers without power out of the 4,683 within Wrentham's town lines. The police also had to close Sheldon Rd and Chestnut St due to limbs falling and taking down power lines.
One of the questions leading up to the storm was whether or not National Grid had improved how it responds to emergencies. According to Wrentham Police Chief, Jim Anderson the results have been mixed. While he says communications have been an improvement over last year, the response to problems has still been slow. He cites the problems on Sheldon Rd. His office contacted National Grid at around 11 a.m. and the road remained closed. He was puzzled at why the company couldn't have sent one of the 11 line crews and 9 tree crews it had in the area serving Wrentham, along with Plainville, Bellingham, Franklin, Upton, Milford, and Blackstone. "We're worlds ahead compared to last year," Anderson says. "National Grid has a good plan in place. I don't think they're working that plan."
He is also concerned about bigger emergencies. The problems around Wrentham were significantly smaller than the storms from last year when thousand of residents went without power. "If we can't get responses for minor things, I'm concerned about bigger issues," he says.
Anderson, along with Selectman Joe Botaish, were both pleased with communications among the town's departments. Both cited new superintendent Mike Lavin as being very active in managing problems caused by the storm. "All our departments, Police, Fire, DPW, and Wrentham Public Schools are communicating very well," Botaish says.
Sandy will still affect the area for several more hours. To view updates on power outages visit the National Grid web site.
- Council on Aging provided Public Safety with a list of the elderly to keep an eye on during the storm. If necessary, they will be relocated to a shelter. A regional shelter was opened this evening at Attleboro High School.
- Wrentham DPW is out to keep ahead of the damage and will be working as needed throughout this evening.
- Meals on Wheels was cancelled for Wrentham seniors. They were supposed to receive a meal plus an extra meal pack for Tuesday today. But HESSCO was concerned about sending volunteers out on the road today and has cancelled this plan. Some received emergency packs on Friday, but not all of them have those.
- Schools were closed Monday. Officials say if there is power, the schools will be open Tuesday.
- In the event of an emergency during the storm, residents should call 9-1-1. For all other inquiries or to report property damage, please contact the Police Department at 508-384-2121 to speak with a police dispatcher.