Area fire, rescue services brace for rains, flooding

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2023 Telegraph Publishing LLC

With the National Weather Service issuing a flood watch for all of Vermont from Sunday afternoon through Monday evening, local emergency responders are preparing for the needs of their communities, and Vermont Emergency Management has put out a list of things to do to ensure public safety during flooding including monitoring weather reports and keeping an eye on the water levels in streams and rivers.

Here is the list:

  • If rising water is approaching, leave. Evacuate over high ground and plan that route now for this weekend and any time there may be flooding.
  • Turn off the circuit breaker in your home before you evacuate – if you can do so safely. Have a licensed electrician inspect your electrical system before you once again occupy your home if it has been flooded.
  • Never drive or walk through floodwaters. Strong currents or unseen washouts can sweep you and your car away.
  • If you are in a flood-prone area, or if you believe your home will be flooded, it is advisable to move valuables from your basement in case water enters your home.
  • Check your insurance coverage now, then contact your insurance company if you have damage.

Local preparations

Watching the West River at the South Derry fire station in April 2019

Chester Fire Chief Matt Wilson told The Telegraph that his crew has been activated as part of the Vermont Swift Water Rescue Team and  firefighters will be standing by at the Pleasant Street Fire Station beginning at 7 p.m. Wilson said that Chester is a resource for water rescue calls in southern Vermont.

In Cavendish, the Proctorsville Fire Department is meeting this afternoon to prepare for the incoming rain, according to Deputy Chief Bob Glidden Jr., who also said that arrangements have been made to house Ludlow ambulance in Proctorsville. Glidden said that “if issues start to occur, (Ludlow) will send an ambulance to our firehouse for standby.”

Jeff Duda, chief of the Champion Fire Company in South Londonderry, has a somewhat different problem since his firehouse is just a few feet from the West River. “I can see the river from my house and I’ll be keeping an eye on it in case we have to evacuate the building,” said Duda. He also said that his crew has a playbook that it has used a number of times since Tropical Storm Irene in August of 2011. Duda said he is most concerned about small streams and culverts handling the water flows that may be coming. “The rains forecast to come will only add to an already saturated watershed,” said Duda

“I cannot stress enough that people should avoid driving through any floodwaters. Be prepared to spend tomorrow at home and allow Emergency Management, Town and Fire crews to assess and make repairs,” said Duda.

Resources for keeping up with the storm, flooding

Vermont Alert sends up-to-the-minute weather and other warnings to your phone or email. These alerts are personalized to notify you of problems in specific areas. Register to get the alerts by clicking here.

For up-to-the-minute forecasts, visit the National Weather Service sites:

For other resources


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Filed Under: AndoverCavendishChesterFlood News UpdatesFloods of 7-10-23GraftonLatest NewsLondonderryWestonWindham

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