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Generating PE Needs

PRINCE EDWARD – Thunderstorms rolling across Virginia June 29 left their mark and a memory for those who braved its aftermath and the heat without electrical power.

Because some area residents without power visited cooling shelters offered at area fire departments, the storm incident prompted some discussion at the board of supervisors July meeting.

Specifically, the need for a power generator.

“Does Prospect not have an emergency generator available for their fire department?” asked Farmville District (701) Supervisor Jim Wilck, following a report of shelter activities.

Fellow board member and Prospect Fire Department President Howard “Pete” Campbell” responded that “probably six years ago Prince Edward County asked the fire departments how much power-wise we needed to pull the entire station on each county station.”

He explained that they came up with a 75 KW generator that would pull everything in the building and that the county ended up buying a 12 KW generator that provides for the well and open the doors and about three or four lights.

That, Campbell explained, is the reason they were not open-they didn't have power until 8:30 that night in part of the building, and the rest the following night. (There are separate circuits in the building.)

Wilck would offered that he appreciates that the budget's done and that they don't have that kind of money now, but assessed that it's something they should address in the future.

“Because we're using the fire departments as a-you know it's a safety situation and a fallback situation…,” Wilck said.

“We also don't have a generator for our shelter at the (middle) school,” County Administrator Wade Bartlett also highlighted.

Wilck would add, “In both cases, I…think that ought to be somewhere on the agenda for the future.”

Bartlett noted that they had talked to the state emergency manager about the issue.

County staff were also asked to check into the matter, looking into possible grants. A generator to provide service to the school would have to be large.

It was highlighted the Town of Farmville applied and received a generator on wheels that can be hauled to different sites; staff reported that the Town has loaned it to the County in emergencies.

(Campbell also noted to The Herald that Darlington Heights also could not open. Their generator was being repaired. Other departments, Campbell also cited, have the same size, 12 KW, generators.)

As for the storm's aftermath, it was noted that Pamplin, Meherrin and Rice volunteer fire departments and the Prince Edward Rescue Squad agreed to open their facilities for cooling shelters. According to a written report presented to the board, 50 citizens used the fire department shelters. (Pamplin, Meherrin and Rice departments had power and were open.)

“A number of citizens indicated they would need shelter for Saturday night,” the memo cited. “As the schools had power the school superintendent was contacted and he agreed to allow the use of the middle school cafetorium as an overnight shelter. Social Services was contacted and activated a team to man the school shelter. County staff provided bottled water and coolers and the schools provided ice for the coolers. County staff contacted the hospital who provided 32 cots for use.”

The memo noted that “the cooling shelters were closed at approximately 7 p.m.” and those attending “were instructed to go to the middle school if they needed overnight accommodations”, but by 9 p.m. no one had reported to the school and the shelter was closed.

Bartlett thanked Pamplin, Meherrin and Rice volunteer fire departments, Prince Edward Rescue Squad, Social Services (who called out three employees to man an overnight shelter at the middle school, though no citizens came to the site), the schools, the hospital for providing cots, local radio stations, the Town of Farmville and Town Manager Gerald Spates (who called and offered assistance) and opened water access for those in need.