FEMA Emergency Evacuation Drill

by Jane Ahrens

By Jane T. Ahrens
Editor, FishersIsland.net
Fishers Island, NY
October 29, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015 the Fishers Island Ferry District participated in a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Emergency Evacuation Drill. As it would in a real emergency deemed by the DEMHS (Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security), the ferry departed New London and arrived at Silver Eel Cove on Fishers. Several members of the Fishers Island community, including members of the Fishers Island Fire Department, Southhold Town Board member, a member of the Utility Company, and the press boarded the Munnatawket for the trial run to Stonington’s fishing pier.

Already on board were 8 Fishers Island Ferry captains participating in the drill and representatives from CT DEMHS, CT DEEP, Dominion Nuclear CT/Millstone, New London EMD, Coast Guard LI Division, and Amtrak police department.

The trip up the Sound was timed at 1 hour from Silver Eel Cove, Fishers Island, NY to Stonington, CT (at slack water), taking the southern route past North Dumpling and leaving the Latimer Light to starboard. As the boat docked in Stonington Borough and the gangplank was installed on the port side to disembark, Stonington Town representatives, the Stonington police and various other Stonington EMD involved in the drill greeted the passengers.

The conservative estimate for emergency passenger evacuation from Fishers per boat is – Race Point 760 and Munnatawket 508. If an emergency evacuation is required in the summer season, more than 1 trip can be made between Fishers and Stonington.

Passengers and dogs and cats will be welcomed on board and those needing special assistance would be transported to the passenger deck. To allow for maximum passengers on board, there will be a bare minimum of baggage (one bag/person), and no vehicles will be allowed (there is no vehicle exit from the ferry in Stonington.)

Once in Stonington Borough the passengers would proceed to buses in the larger staging area by the water filtration/waste management building and be taken to Windham High School in Windham, CT for evaluation, Red Cross assistance and shelter.

FEMA Evacuation Routes Map - click for larger image.
FEMA Evacuation Routes Map – click for larger image.

During the drill, there were many detailed conversations amongst those present about logistics, what ifs, procedures, and next steps. Individuals with similar job responsibilities were able to meet in person to discuss concerns. Once docked back in Silver Eel, the ferry captains were trained on the radiation monitors and other specifics regarding a Millstone incident. Marine Operations Manager RJ Burns will be training the rest of the Ferry employees on these matters as well.

FEMA Evacuation Drill crew included Fishers Island Ferry Captains Jesse Marshall, Jon Hiller, Jon Haney, John Morgan, Heather Stone, Tony Mirabelli, RJ Burns and Bob Kraft. Captain Mike Fiora ran all the regularly scheduled trips while the rest of the captains were involved in training. Polly Ford, Nick Espinosa, James Moore, Carlton Wilcox kept things flowing at the New London Terminal or by working on the Race Point. RJ Burns mentioned, “No one can remember the last time all the captains were together in one place!”

Fishers Island Ferry District Captains on FEMA Drill.
Fishers Island Ferry District Captains on FEMA Drill. L-R Jesse Marshall, Tony Mirabelli, Bob Kraft, John Morgan, Jon Haney, RJ Burns, Heather Stone, and Jon Hiller. Photo Credit: JT Ahrens

Thank you to all who took the time to participate in the Dominion Emergency Preparedness Offsite Training Program orchestrated by instructors CT DEMHS State Emergency Management’s Peter Sandgren and Emergency Preparedness Specialist IV Bryan McHugh of Dominion Nuclear Connecticut/Millstone.

Peter SandgrenCT DEMHSEmergency Management
Cindy TangneyCT DEMHSEmergency Management
Sylvia DakeCT DEMHSEM Communications
Stephen HenrickCT DEMHSEM Planning (EMPS)
Carla IzzyCT DEMHSRegion 4 Planner
Bryan McHughDominion Nuclear CTEmergency Preparedness
Ken HoltDominion Nuclear CTCommunications
David SmithDominion Nuclear CTEmergency Preparedness
Scott GrahamUSCG Sector LI SoundPort Security Planning
Ian FullonUSCG Sector LI SoundWaterways Management
Charles DuffyCity of New LondonAsst. to Chief Sate Atty.
Tom CurcioCity of New LondonNLFD Battalion Chief
Tom MiskellAmtrak Police Dept.Police Officer NL
Louisa EvansFI/Town of SoutholdTown Board Member
Joe BrockFishers IslandFIFD/Constable
Mike ImbriglioFishers Island Fire Dept.Emergency Mgmt. Dir.
Tim PattersonFishers Island Fire Dept.Asst. FEMA Coordinator
Tracy BrockFishers Island Fire Dept.EMS Asst. Div. Chief
Bob BrooksFishers Island Fire Dept.EOC
Chris FinanFI Utility CompanyPresident
Jane AhrensFishers IslandFishersIsland.net Editor
RJ BurnsFishers Island Ferry Dist.Captain/Marine Ops Mgmt
Jon HaneyFishers Island Ferry Dist.Captain/Marine Ops Super
Jesse MarshallFishers Island Ferry Dist.Captain
Jon HillerFishers Island Ferry Dist.Captain
John MorganFishers Island Ferry Dist.Captain
Heather StoneFishers Island Ferry Dist.Captain
Tony MirabelliFishers Island Ferry Dist.Captain
Bob KraftFishers Island Ferry Dist.Captain

Photo gallery of FEMA Drill trip to Stonington. Photo Credit: JTAhrens (Click any image to see larger photos or view as a slideshow.)

Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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