THIS WEEK: Adirondacks Ready for Fall
At first, to me, it looked like the main bridge of the Starship Enterprise.
The Essex County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) "main bridge" had a series of tables all lined up with computer monitors every few feet, complete with the name of officer's agency on a sign set on top for Captain Kirk...er...the EOC Director's quick reference.
In a crazy twist prompted by chance circumstances, I found myself walking into the epicenter of the post-Irene disaster response. There were a number of departments at the tables; NYS Police, Essex County Emergency Services, Public Health, County Sheriff, Public Works, Environmental Conservation, Transportation, the Red Cross, FEMA - all working in harmony to respond to, and proactively support the local areas hit by the tropical storm Irene.
Like the precise inner workings of a clock, the agencies represented at the EOC reacted in moments to unforeseen challenges, while continuing to implement their overall plan. The calls came in from the field: a sign needed to direct traffic; a truckload of fill, a forklift to move sandbags, flashlights and drinking water to victims; updates to the various online resources and listings; all documented and expertly handled under one roof.
Adding Destination Marketing Organization to the mix of agencies at the tables, I was there to support the County's information officer with media communications and public safety awareness about the dangers associated with the flooding that had taken out roads and flooded homes.
It was an interesting balancing act for me. I was helping to provide public information to the local media about Disaster Resource Centers and public safety for the hard-hit communities in our region, while simultaneously promoting the fact that (due to the hard work of these agencies) there are only minor detours required to travel to the area, and that most of our businesses and plenty of hiking trails were still open to potential visitors.
I've gained a tremendous amount of respect for the work that these agencies do; and the progress that has been made. Roads are being cleared, and Disaster Recovery Centers are up and running.
Likewise, our community businesses are open, many of the High Peak trails are now accessible, and our trees are prepping to display their spectacular fall show!
The EOC will remain in place until it is no longer needed, but I am keeping in electronic communication with them from afar, having now beamed back to my regular office.
>>PLAN YOUR VISIT!
Lake Placid Visitors Service 518.523.2445
Updated hiking information
Directions to Lake Placid
-Kimberly Rielly is the director of communications for the Lake Placid CVB.