At Tuesday, April 25’s Perth town council meeting, senior staff provided a detailed report on the municipal response to the ice storm earlier this month. Eleven 9-1-1 calls involved emergency services’ responses for electrical hazards, an elevator rescue, flooding assistance, a medical event, and carbon monoxide (CO) issues from emergency generator use. Lanark County registered 163 9-1-1 calls during the same time period. Fire Chief Trevor Choffe said the number of CO issues was alarming and at least one could have been fatal, except for the presence of a working home alarm. His crews measured some home interiors at 200 parts-per-million of the deadly gas (0-9 ppm is considered safe). The causes were found to be improper placement and operation of gasoline-powered generators.
Senior staff and council expressed high praise for the efforts of municipal teams, some of whom worked over 24 hours without rest to help with emergencies. They even worked late into Friday night to help clear the heavily damaged Stewart Park in preparation for the town’s Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday. Management noted several areas for improvement including processes for handling emergency calls from the public, managing expectations through more communications including social-media, increasing the number of two-way radios available to front-line staff and some public education on generator uses, sump pumps, and emergency phone numbers. Choffe said he was surprised at the number of homeowners that didn’t even know their houses had sump pumps or which service provider to call for certain emergencies.