Tuesday, March 05, 2024

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Commentary: Evacuation Plan for Westport? Difficult at Best

By Gordon Joseloff

According to The Hour, word from Wednesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting is that before the board can vote on any resolution regarding Westchester’s Indian Point nuclear facility, it wants to focus on evacuation plans.

Lets see, with about 26,000 resident Westporters, and thousands more or less who might be in town or passing through on any given day, that would mean almost 400 school buses to carry people out of town.

Or a little more than 100 of your average Boeing 727 passenger jets. How about getting the state to put in an extended runway at Sherwood Island only to be used in times of emergency? Or there’s always our fleet of powerboats and yachts based at local marinas.

Difficult at best, if not impossible. Any child over the age of 3 knows about traffic jams on I-95 or the Merritt. All it takes is one jackknifed tractor-trailer or even a minor fender bender to back things up for hours.

But lets take this one step further. Let’s suppose they devise a plan to have Westporters congregate at school parking lots, Compo Beach, or Sherwood Island, to board buses to somewhere.

Imagine the confusion and clogging of local roads just to get to the assigned evacuation points.

And how many Westporters will say forget about heading to an evacuation point and just point the SUV or Beamer out of here, only to quickly get bogged down in traffic?

The professionals say a more likely event is something called shelter-in-place. This is where the much-derided duct tape and plastic sheeting comes into use.

There are a number of Web resources that go into detail about what this entails and how to be prepared.

While politicians can debate endlessly about various contingencies, the likelihood is that you will be the best protector for yourself and family. Maybe stocking up on duct tape isnt such a bad idea after all.

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