Hurricane Season – Storm Preparation

August/September is the peak of Hurricane season and there are certain things that everyone can do to be as prepared as possible should a storm hit the region.

Prepare for a Storm:

  • Have candles and flashlights available for emergency light, and a battery-operated radio for weather reports and other information. Make sure you have matches and fresh batteries, too.
  • Create an emergency kit with essential items such as food, water and communication devices. It should include non-perishable food, water bottles, medicine and supplies. There should be enough items to survive at least 72 hours.
  • If you see that a major storm is coming be sure to charge all your cellphones and tablets as well as any backup batteries you may have.
  • Please note: Customers with special medical problems such as having oxygen requirements should have a backup plan.

During an outage:

  • If all your power suddenly shuts off, the main breaker in your electrical breaker box may have tripped. You can restore power simply by moving the switch to “off,” then back to the “on” position. Check your fuses, too, if you have them.
  • If your area is without power, or you see any downed wires, call Groton Utilities at (860) 446-4000. Call us if you see damage to electrical equipment, or anything out of the ordinary such as trees or branches on wires. Do not go near any wires. Even a downed wire may be dangerous.
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed. Contents should be safe for at least 24 hours. Turn off your appliances. When power is restored, turn them back on gradually.
  • Don’t worry. We respond to outages immediately and continue to work until all customers have power. Check our Facebook page and for outage updates. In the case of a full hurricane, your patience would certainly be most appreciated.

Below are some information sources you may find helpful in preparing for a major storm:

FEMA Hurricane Preparedness

National Hurricane Center

CDC – Preparing for a Hurricane or Tropical Storm

FEMA Family Emergency Plan

FEMA Emergency Supply Kit

Groton Utilities Employees Help Those in Need

At Groton Utilities we value safety. That’s a good company policy, but not all that uncommon. Where we may differentiate ourselves is that we value the safety and well-being of everyone – from co-workers to family to the people in our community. Groton Utilities is a publicly owned utility and it is very important to us that we can be a valuable and contributing member of this community. That being said, I’m not sure even our best laid plans would have led us to believe we’d be out in the community lending medical assistance the amount that we have.

Early this year 102 utility employees attended first aid training and became certified in CPR/First Aid/AED. Additionally, 111 employees attended the nationally recognized “Stop the Bleed” training, which teaches students how to handle a variety of bleeding scenarios. For most, these classes were a “good to know” situation, where students tucked away useful tips and life-saving procedures into the back of their minds, perhaps never to use them in real life situations. However, for a surprisingly plentiful group of employees, this knowledge was put into action in short order.

Soon after the training Matthew Lyon and Matthew Cook, both employed in the Electric Division of Groton Utilities, assisted an elderly man who had fallen on a sidewalk due to icy conditions. The two were driving across town returning to the Groton Utilities Operations Complex when they saw the man on the ground. They pulled their company vehicle over, helped the man up and walked him back to his house – making sure he was ok before they left. While no medical assistance was required, it was their heads up awareness and their willingness to jump right in and help that served the elderly man well.

The Water Division’s Kevin Ziolkovski works as an EMT when not at GU, so we can’t fully give credit to the company’s safety training classes for his actions – but that doesn’t take anything away from his decisive actions. In early spring Kevin was driving to his worksite in Groton when he saw a woman lying on the ground on the side of the road. When he stopped to provide aid he noticed that the woman had a significant head injury and had bitten through a section of her tongue as well. Kevin provided the necessary care while also calling 911 and attended to the patient until an ambulance arrived. There’s no telling what could have happened if Kevin hadn’t noticed the situation and acted decisively.

 Later in the spring Dawn Brown, a laboratory technician in the Water Division, was driving back to the lab from the City Municipal Building when she noticed a man having a seizure on the sidewalk near the REM Boot Company on Route 12. Dawn pulled her vehicle over to assist another person who was already trying to help, but realized soon after that the good Samaritan was panicking and not sufficiently helping the convulsing man. She recalled her recently learned CPR and First Aid training and instructed the man to call 911 right off. At that point she noticed that the man was frothing at the mouth and, again using her training, rolled him on his side so that he would avoid choking, while at the same time holding his head to help him from banging it against the sidewalk, as he was still convulsing. She then stayed with the man until professional medical assistance arrived.

And in yet another scenario where just being a concerned citizen paid off, Tim Pray and Tate Bailey of the Electric Division were driving on Poquonnock Road when they saw an individual who initially looked like they were exercising. Something didn’t look quite right to them so they decided to pull over to make sure everything was ok. It turns out the person was in medical distress and Tim and Tate called 911 and stayed until medical help arrived.

The combination of employee first aid training and high-quality individuals and their decisive actions led to several Groton residents or visitors receiving first aid earlier than they may have – if they would have received any at all. No one will ever know what would have happened if Groton Utilities employees hadn’t been eager enough and knowledgeable enough to lend a helping hand.

Groton Utilities places a high value on having all of its employee trained in the basics of first-aid. Its CPR class is a comprehensive six-hour class that each employee must attend annually. The class is taught by Jim Healey, GU’s Safety Coordinator contracted from A/Z Corporation. Additionally Former City of Groton Fire Chief Nick Delia taught the “Stop the Bleed” course that many employees have commented as finding particularly enlightening. The “Stop the Bleed” program is a national awareness campaign and call-to-action enacted in October 2015 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage bystanders to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

*Correction – Previously it had been erroneously reported Jim Healey taught the “Stop the Bleed” course.

Strange Brew Band Playing this Friday at Concerts in the Park

The Strange Brew Band will be playing at our last concert of the season this Friday night. These guys are new to our concert series, but have no doubt, they can rock with the best of them. The Strange Brew Band are a five-piece rock and roll outlet that bring energy and musicianship every time out. Their sets have ranged from Black Crows, Doors, White Stripes, Zepplin, Sabbath all the way to Stevie Wonder. Come down and check them out – they rock!

Here’s something new and exciting – for this year’s concert series we have partnered with Q105! Q105 will bring their event fun-and-games team to the park, so get to the show early to play some games and win Q105 prizes. It’ll be fun for the whole family.

We have an exciting line-up for our Friday concerts that features some of the bands that we’ve had in the past plus a few new ones to keep us all entertained. Check out the complete concert schedule below:

June 21st – Coyote River Band
June 28th – Souls on Fire
July 5th – 9Teen
July 12th – The Cartells
July 19th – Mass-Conn Fusion
July 26th – F & Blues Band
August 9th – The Strange Brew Band

All concerts are held on Friday nights in Washington Park in the City of Groton and begin at 6:30 p.m. Groton Utilities and the City of Groton Parks and Recreation Department co-sponsor and co-produce the concerts.

For concert information or cancellation notices, call 860-446-4129, the concert hotline. Food is available on site – Groton baseball leagues will operate the concession stand.

The concerts offer families a fun, inexpensive evening. The concert site has sufficient room on the basketball court for dancing.


2019 Community Service Award Winner Announced

From left to right, Scott Boyle, Tod Evers, Tim LeHouillier, Mayor Keith Hedrick and Dan Bouges

At “City of Groton Day” this past Friday Groton Utilities presented the 2019 Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award to Timothy LeHouillier for his volunteer contributions to the Greater Groton Community.

Tim was given the award for his outstanding efforts over the years as a volunteer at the Center Groton Volunteer Fire Department as well for a noteworthy commitment to assisting those in need in his neighborhood. Tim loves to help people, works hard and always tries to lift the spirits of those around him.

Tim is of great help to the elderly in his neighborhood, assisting in cleaning up yards, planting gardens, splitting wood and plowing snow from their driveways, free of charge. Tim will often plow driveways at 5:00 a.m. so that people can get out of their driveways. He also volunteers at the Center Groton Volunteer Fire Department while also serving on its board. Additionally, he was instrumental in painting the firehouse in order to save money as well as assist the other volunteers.

In Tim’s honor Groton Utilities donated $1,000 to the John E. Boyle Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund. Representing the Scholarship Fund were Scott Boyle and Tod Evers, who received the check at the ceremony. City of Groton Mayor Keith Hedrick and Groton Utilities Manager of Communications and Community Outreach Dan Bouges hosted the ceremony and gave out the community service award and charity donation.

The Jacqueline B. Nixon Community Service Award is given out annually by Groton Utilities at City of Groton Day to honor a member of the community who has contributed his or her time, energy and resources to make the community a better place in which to live and work.

The award is named in honor of Jacqueline B. Nixon to commemorate her service to the community she loved so much. Jackie operated a food pantry in her residence for 24 years, distributing food to those in need. The winner of this award is someone who should contribute to the community and should be someone who others would describe as generous, committed, caring, and most of all someone who performs a “service” for the community. Tim LeHouillier embodies all of these attributes and therefore Groton Utilities is proud and honored to present him with this award as well contribute to his charity of choice.