Cumberland Times-News

November 8, 2012

Garrett County reviews actions as storm cleanup continues


Cumberland Times-News

— OAKLAND (AP) — Garrett County officials are reviewing their response to superstorm Sandy, which dumped 3 feet of heavy, wet snow and caused catastrophic damage to the power system, closed roads and threatened communications networks.

At a briefing Thursday in Oakland, county commissioners and staff talked about the challenges they faced during and after the storm.

That included the safe evacuation of 99 patients from a nursing home to a shelter for 12 hours because a generator malfunctioned and filled the Dennett Road Manor nursing home with smoke. Another problem was drivers who were unprepared for blizzard conditions on Interstate 68, leading to people getting stuck and the eventual closure of the highway.

The State Highway Administration had to remove just under 3,000 trees from county roads so people could get out and power crews could get in, and Potomac Edison replaced 300 damaged power poles.

The county received thousands of calls for help from residents. One person died while shoveling snow, several house fires broke out that were related to power problems and several people suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of generator emissions.

While officials say residents, county staff, state and federal employees and power companies responded well to the storm, they plan to compile an after-action report to look for ways to improve.

The county plans to seek federal funding to help pay for some of its costs, including overtime for county employees.