December 10, 2018 CFPPC Meeting Minutes

Common Fence Point Emergency Preparedness Group

Kick-off Meeting

Monday, December 10, 2018 | 3:15-5:00 pm

Lee Silva’s home, 108 Canton Ave, Common Fence Point

Attendees: John Frost, Nicole Gotovich, Carlton Johnson, Ray Perry, Jeff Prater, Lee Silva, Pam Rubinoff, Jen West


  • Review of meeting purpose, objectives, and agenda items
    • Purpose: understand participants’ interests in emergency/climate preparedness in their community and share information and tools that PREP-RI may provide
    • Objectives: Participants will know:
      • who else is in the room and the impetus, purpose and objectives of the meeting
      • others’ knowledge, experience, and concerns regarding emergency/climate preparedness in their community
      • what assistance is available to them and discuss the CFP group structure and purpose
      • the next steps of the group
    • Introductions
      • Nicole- has lived on Massasoit Ave. in CFP for 20 years
      • Lee- a retired nurse who has lived in CFP since the 1970s (on Holliston Ave. before moving to Canton Ave.); an amazing community in which to bring up children- it’s very safe; when there were fewer houses, everyone took care of each other during storms
      • Carlton- retired from the US Navy, has lived in CFP since 1977; Sr. Vice Commander of VFW Post 5390 and was a CFPIA trustees for a few years
      • Ray- retired US Coast Guard Captain who is currently the Portsmouth EMA Director and teaches emergency operations at Mass Maritime; has lived in CFP for ~11 years; he’s helped draft a lot of national directives and was incident commander for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; enjoys doing multi-agency/community work
      • Jeff- retired US Navy who is currently the Public Affairs Officer at NUWC; has lived on Common Fence Blvd. (two houses from Taylor’s Point) for only about a year; a native Floridian, he’s been through a lot of hurricanes (he worked for Panama City, FL Emergency Management and his condo in Mexico Beach, FL survived Hurricane Michael because it was built to newer and better standards; however, the entire garage level (the location of the power panels) was filled with water, and there’s still no power)
      • John- grew up in CFP, moved away, and moved back; has lived at 43 Greenfield Ave. for ~2.5 years; he’s captivated by weather and disaster preparedness and wants to know what’s needed and what he and other individuals- as well as the whole community- can do to help
    • Overview of PREP-RI/targeted community assistance effort
      • Pam Rubinoff provided a brief overview of PREP-RI and our collaboration with the Town of Portsmouth (please see agreement signed by the Town Manager)
        • Gary (Town Planner) envisions the collaboration/technical assistance consisting of educating the town board and commission members via the PREP-RI modules, providing input on the Town’s Hazard Mitigation and Comprehensive Plants, and engaging with a community(ies) at risk (help fill gaps and connect lines of communication)
      • Open discussion about the risks/issues the community faces, how prepared it is for the next natural disaster, what’s already known and what is needed/wanted to move forward
        • Nicole- spoke with the Green Infrastructure Coalition about fixing the drainage at the railroad track bridge- they said it would be a huge undertaking because of the power lines (would have to work with National Grid); my house on Massasoit is higher than my neighbors (I don’t need flood insurance, but most do); we have mandatory evacuation for Category 1 storms because there’s only one way in and one way out; can the CFPIA Hall be used to shelter evacuees or is it too close to the water? During Hurricane Bob, water came up to the ball field across from the Hall (also does so with moon tides); let’s have Ray come to the Hall to talk about emergency management and preparedness
        • Lee- the shoreline here has changed considerably; when we first moved in, we weren’t in a flood zone, but now we are; we were some of the property owners who received funds to “shore up”; the erosion at Taylor’s Point is so bad that the rocks have come down (a neighbor used to plant flowers around those rocks- how they’re 30 feet out!); now there’s a cement wall there; we never had problems with water in our basement except for during the 2010 floods (we couldn’t even get it out with two sump pumps! FEMA wrote us a check which paid for our furnace)
        • Carlton- people want to build (homes, septic systems) on CFP property; the CFPIA Hall would be a great place for people to stay during a power outage; the VFW can accommodate some people and has emergency generators; we have a 14KW generator at our house and have discussed putting in a generator at the CFPIA Hall to kick on automatically (it needs electricity and heat! Then electric stoves could be used); who are the nurses and doctors who live in CFP who can be called upon?; would appreciated being sent event, etc. information
        • Jeff- invited URI President Dooley to NUWC to discuss a partnership with the Engineering School
        • Q: Do you connect with the Red Cross? A: Red Cross and generators are more of Ray’s bailiwick
        • Resilient Rhody addresses what municipalities can do- we need to work in this sphere (we’ve developed training modules and other resources but they’re not enough- we need to dig deeper (especially re. implementation))
        • Ray- we [Portsmouth EMA] are required to have an incident management team (the Red Cross and other volunteer organizations are involved); if something was to happen here, we have a 75% cost share with FEMA (25% of our efforts (e.g., volunteer groups) can easily count for that); we [Portsmouth EMA] have a plan and we’re putting together a volunteer program which will mesh with whatever you [CFP emergency preparedness group] want to do; we’ll have a public meeting/training in January 2019 (to address what’s going on with Portsmouth’s emergency management program (which is connected mostly to mitigation; the town’s Hazard Mitigation Plan is pretty good and addresses a lot of what we’re talking about); it’s hard to manage grants with limited staff; coastal projects have to link into state and national programs; input from community members on what they really want to do is very important; the CFPIA Hall is in a flood zone, so I want people out of this neighborhood during a big storm (especially folks with special needs (there’s a registry) and the elderly); we need to have a plan! There’s a lot of preparedness information out there (e.g., clean out septic systems before hurricane season!)
        • Seniors/diabetics should have a “go” bag if they need to evacuate; what are other things folks should have ready/in place?
        • Will the sea wall at Taylor’s Point be built back up? If Island Park didn’t have a sea wall during some storms they would have been in big trouble
        • Ray- most of the things you’re talking about fall in the following categories: Preparedness – Response – Recovery – Mitigation; multiple jurisdictions are involved
        • Jeff- CFP has a lot of people on its ad hoc Right-of-Way (ROW) committee where the issue of restricted access is discussed; there are 90 or so ROWs in town with various owners (CRMC, CFP, etc.); there’s a “no access” sign at Taylor’s Point that’s part of this issue (it was put up b/c of trash from non-residents)- it will be addressed by the committee
        • What are the options considering the community’s assets?
        • The sea wall only goes down so far, then there’s rip rap; there’s erosion because there’s no sea grass (we need sea grass plantings!)
        • Phragmites is another issue
        • Look to universities to do studies
      • Options for moving forward (what the group should look like/how it should function, how PREP-RI may assist)
        • The size of the group is good; let’s meet again after first of the year (the VFW is a meeting venue option)
        • We should consider including the meeting minutes in the CFPIA e-newsletter
        • The discussion points should be taken back to the Town Manager
        • There’s a lot that’s relevant to the ROW discussion as well
        • Invite Mike Zani (CFP trustee and Conley’s husband) and Dave Gleason (former Town Council member) to join the group
        • At our next meeting let’s talk about how the group should be organized and how we’ll make decision
        • We could consider becoming an official town committee, but it takes a long time
        • Think about (and write down) the things you think need to be done/addressed, and we can talk about priorities and how to move ahead at future meetings
        • Community education needs to happen! (like was done with the fire talk)