Preparing for a disaster

Bridgeport emergency officials take part in an emergency preparedness drill, June 23, 2014.

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — Across Connecticut communities are gearing up for hurricane season. An emergency preparedness drill Monday helped many communities, including the City of Bridgeport, get ready for the next big storm.

“We are in hurricane season,” said Scott Appleby, Emergency Management Director for Bridgeport. “Residents should start to prepare themselves, make a kit, have a plan, be informed, get involved.”

About 60 agencies from the City of Bridgeport gathered at the Emergency Operations Headquarters to understand the needs of the community.

“The entire City of Bridgeport, administration, first responders are present; hospitals, ambulance service, Red Cross, utilities, public facilities right down the line, including this year as we brought in more of the functional needs agencies,” Appleby said.

The fire department says they have a lot of experience in this area especially after dealing with Superstorm Sandy, and say they have a plan in place.

“If it is warranted we will do a door-to-door search with the fire companies and the police officers will knock on doors and encourage the people to evacuate,” Bridgeport Deputy Fire Chief Robert Petrucelli said.

The City of Bridgeport is rolling out new technology called VEOCI, a user friendly system for first responders that shares information across the state. That information goes right back to the command center so officials can make critical decisions.

“It’s a database that takes in all of the information from crews out on the road, can do it over the internet, from our emergency command, from citizens calling in, or putting information that needs to be connected,” Director of Public Facilities George Garcia said. “It sources everything so we have a much clearer picture of what’s going on.”

Officials say their goal is to let the citizens know what’s going on as quick as possible.

“We can do things like give updates on how many people are in shelters, when a shelter gets too full and we need to open a new shelter, and kind of start tracking the information,” Kristen Binau of the Red Cross said.

Officials say their focus is making sure that people are better prepared when it comes to a disaster.

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