Ron Stacknick, Dalton Fire Chief and 10 to 12 members of the Dalton Fire Company had a busy week following Hurricane Sandy.
For more than 72 hours, the company's team responded to storm -related emergencies and calls, including going door-to-door to check on residents to be sure they had supplies such as water, ice and electricity to run medical equipment; making sure that generators were being used properly, manning a warming stationed supplied by the American Red Cross, along with the fire company's auxiliary and transporting a family to nearby relatives after their home was damaged by a fallen tree.
Our main role in those situations is hazard control and safety, said Stacknick, and although there was not much more damage than he and members of the company are accustomed to dealing with following a major storm. He explained, We anticipated a lot more damage, but there was really not that much more damage than we're used to in the area - it's just that the things that were damaged were critical. There was a combination of things as always…
The fire company initially responded to several emergencies at the height of the storm – trees down and trees down on wires, and in the latter part of the storm recovery. In the last few days, he said, we did deal with some medical issues, specifically people had have medical conditions…
After 4 p.m., they visited door-to-door throughout their coverage area, which includes Glenburn, West Abington, La Plume, Dalton Borough, North Abington, and Waverly..., Stacknick added.
…There wasn't a time that we felt like we were scrambling, running around trying to get things taken care of. It was well thought out. I couldn't ask for more from the people that were involved from our end. We worked well with all of the agencies – Red Cross, EMA…so it really did go smooth, said Stacknick.
He noted the fire company also received help from local businesses, including Doug LaCoe, owner of Dalton Lumber Do-It Center; electricians Richard R. Schirg & Sons, Inc.; donations of water from Gerrity's Supermarket, Clarks Summit and people from outside of the area, specifically a Dunmore resident, who brought food and clothes to the warming center.
Many local businesses were without power and I would love for the community to go and support the businesses that were affected, he said.
During the height of the storm, Dalton Fire Company members were already discussing ways to improve their performance.
I always tell my crew, even when we're in a regular firefighting-EMS training, ‘never be happy with your performance, always analyze and look through and try to make it better for next time…,' said Stacknick.
We did what we did with minimal manpower and as things happen in the future and in our day -to day -operations, we will not be able to maintain this level of service, unless more people come out to help. As much as we need firefighters, we need administrators to handle day-to-day things.
In other areas of the Abintons, businesses and residents faced similar situations.
The only story here (at his business), said Bert Ayers, Red Barn Village Bed & Breakfast owner, is that we had to cancel (reservations) for people coming in.
Ayers' business in Newton Township, Clarks Summit, was one of the business and many homes in Newton and Ransom Townships that lost power as a result of high winds caused by Hurricane Sandy. He said, We lost a week's worth of income and we did have people coming in this week. To us, it was an inconvenience. It was nothing major. We lost a week of income on a couple of rooms, but for what everybody else is going through, that's not a big deal.
Owners and employees of Rossi's Market, located at the Red Barn Village, have been busy cleaning and restocking shelves and meat cases at the Newton Township store. They lost power Oct. 29 at 11 p.m. Toni Cusumano estimated the store lost approximately $35,000 to $40,000 worth of perishable merchandise. Some of it, (perishable merchandise) was sent to St. Frances of Assisi Soup Kitchen. Cathy Rossi added, All of the perishables were a total loss.
In Ransom Township, Dennis Macheska, township supervisor said approximately one third of Ransom Township was without power following high winds from Hurricane Sandy. Many of the power outages lasted 72 hours.
I didn't expect it to last this long, he said. The last time we were out with power was last year - 30 hours. I never thought it would be so drastic. Everyone seems to be back on in our town. Macheska said, It was sporadic.
When many residents of the Abingtons were without power, the Abington Community Library saw an influx of visitors.
The amount of people that have been coming to the library has been incredible, Director Leah Ducato Rudolph said.
According to Rudolph, the library provided free coffee, hot chocolate and tea.
Everyone has been pitching in and really getting back to a sense of community, she added.