All Public Works divisions play key roles in emergency response situations. Public Works employees are first responders working the front lines during major adverse weather events, such as snow storms, ice storms, blizzards, hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding events, to name a few. The following describes some of the duties the various Public Works’ divisions perform during these events.
Snow Storms / Ice Storms / Blizzards
During winter storms, the Streets & Parks Division plows and salts all city streets and assists the Board of Education in the plowing of school parking lots. The Building Maintenance Division is responsible for the clearing of more than five miles of sidewalks, 10 parking lots and all three city-owned parking garages.
The Fleet Maintenance Division is partially staffed during these types of events to quickly respond to and resolve equipment failures. The Engineering & Admin Division assists in managing the call volume during these events and also coordinates any delay or postponements in garbage and recycling collection.
Hurricanes / Tropical Storms / Flooding Events
During these types of events, the Streets & Parks Division has the capability of forming seven fully functional tree cutting and/or flood response crews. The Building Maintenance Division monitors all city buildings for wind and/or rain damage and implements corrective action before small problems become large problems.
The Fleet Maintenance Division is on duty during these events to respond to and resolve equipment failures. The Engineering & Admin Division supports the Building Maintenance Division in assessing and implementing corrective measures for damage to any city building. This division also monitors critical bridge, culvert, and dam infrastructure during these events.
Collaboration with Norwich Public Utilities
By the conclusion of Hurricane / Tropical Storm Irene on the eve of Sunday, August 28, 2011, there were more than 130 reported road closures and/or obstructions. In a collaborative effort, crews from Norwich Public Works and Norwich Public Utilities worked nearly around the clock and in just two days were able to clear 90 percent of these road obstructions.
By the evening of the third day, Wednesday, August 31, 2011, all public streets in Norwich were open and passable.