Dirt spot behind Town Hall where generator will, eventually, go
Communications command-and-control are vital in an emergency, which is why the military always targets it on the first strike. Last year the freak Halloween storm dealt a devastating blow to communications capabilities by taking out the power region wide.
Since the exceedingly rare municipal downtown WiFi is centered in Town Hall and all the emitters run off the power from streetlights, the Internet died (at least our little piece of it). The town had talked about outfitting Town Hall with a generator well before the storm struck and the 20/20 hindsight brought on by the massive power outage pushed an $85,000 appropriation through Joint Capital Planning Committee and then Town Meeting approval.
Thus the money was available to spend as of July 1st, start of the new fiscal year. But as of this morning we have a dirt spot where the new generator is supposed to be. And high up on the top of Town Hall a new more powerful Cisco WiFi emitter has been installed, but without a generator will be useless should the power go out.
Cisco WiFi emitter high atop Town Hall
In the immediate aftermath of the storm last year AFD Chief Nelson was charged with writing up an assessment of how well the town handled it and what steps needed to be taken to improve response for the next one. Number one on the "Action Item" list was the Town Hall generator.
Filed under the "it could be worse" category: AFD Central and North Stations both have generators and WiFi, the water treatment plant and major water wells, and of course Amherst Police Department at 111 Main Street has an emergency generator so the Community Room can and will serve as an Emergency Operations Center.
Last year the EOC was activated for Hurricane Irene (which became a Tropic Storm on hitting New England).