Severe Weather Preparedness

SIMULATION: A Category two (2) Hurricane is approaching Norfolk.

The purpose of the Hurricane Readiness Plan is to provide a systematic approach to follow in the event of a hurricane with emphasis on ongoing safety, awareness, preparedness and long-term survivability

DAY ONE T-minus 12 HOURS (12 hrs. before the hurricane hits Norfolk,CT)

  • The NVFD will have been notified of the impending weather by radio, TV,  weather radio and Litchfield County Dispatch (LCD, the 911 dispatch center) will alert all Fire Department personnel.
  • **Pending Emergency Management Director and Selectmen approval**,  Reverse 911 may be utilized to notify and warn all Norfolk "landline" phone numbers and indivuals that have been registered their cellular phone numbers with CT ALERT) that a serious weather event is coming.
  • Please follow all state and town recomendations to Evacuate if deemed necessary. The NVFD will NOT place its members or equipment in danger from gale force winds.  
  • Fuel-up any vehicles and generators and have non perishable food and water stored for up to 7 days. **NOTE: Do not buy items that need to be kept cool in the likely event power is out for several days.**
  • During the severe weather: NVFD Personal will not be placed in harms way. We will only respond to true emergencies. Cellar pump outs and reports of wires down will be held until the danger has passed. 
  • DAY TWO AND DAY THREE (The hurricane has passed over us, winds have subsided)
  • Our Highway Department and our Fire Department personnel will be responding to emergencies and will begin clearing roads. We are anticipating most telephone lines and power line will have been disrupted.
  • If necessary, the Fire Department will begin door-to-door visits to acquire information about the condition of the residence. That information will be radioed back to the Fire Dept. HQ and solutions will be planned and executed. If you have a damaged home and intend to leave your home, please let us know so our first respondors conducting a door to door inspection will not loose valuable time looking for you.

DAY FOUR until situation is controlled

  • Remember: 9-1-1 is for ALL Emergencies 
  • If you need to contact the Norfolk Vol. Fire Department for Non-Emergencies, Wellness checks, Basement Flooding, Wires down, or Plumbing/Heating issues,  Call our dispatch center in Torrington: 860-496-0711, and they will get ahold of us to assist you.  DO NOT CALL THE FIREHOUSE, DO NOT LEAVE A MESSAGE. THIS MACHINE IS ONLY CHECKED WEEKLY.

Eversource Power  1-800-286-2000

Norfolk Town Hall 860-542-5829

Eversource Outage report


  • Connecticut Governers Office
  • United Illuminating: 1-800-722-5584
  • Connecticut Red Cross: 1-877-287-3327
  • American Red Cross: 1-800-RED-CROSS
  • United Way Infoline: 211

Power line, telephone lines and normal retail commerce will be disrupted. Some residents may need a supply of life-sustaining commodities. These comodities will be managed thru Emergency Managment as available.

The town may provide temporary shelter depending on the condition of suitable building with that capacity and the availablility of Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT) members.

Glossary of Hurricane & Storm-Related Terms:
The following are definitions of terms, used by the National Hurricane Center in their forecasts, which will help you better understand the extent of the threat posed by a hurricane.
•  Advisory: A formal message from the National Hurricane Center, issued every six hours, providing details on location, intensity and movement of a tropical cyclone.
•  Hurricane Eye: The relatively calm area near the center of a storm. The duration of the “Calm” may last from several minutes to up to an hour, depending on the size and speed of the hurricane. The “Calm” usually ends suddenly as winds return, possibly with even greater force.
Hurricane Warning: This warning indicates that a hurricane, with sustained winds of at least 74 mph, is to be expected in 24 hours or less. At this point, hurricane preparedness plans must be finalized. Hurricane warnings are seldom issued more than 24 hours in advance, and in cases of hurricanes with unusual or erratic paths, the warning may be issued only a few hours before landfall.
Hurricane Watch: A hurricane watch indicates that hurricane conditions are a strong possibility and may threaten a given area within 36 hours. This advisory does not necessarily mean a hurricane is imminent, however you must initiate your hurricane preparedness activities.
• Intermediate advisories: Advisories are issued at two or three hour intervals, between regularly schedules advisories, whenever a storm nears a coast.
•  Storm Surge: A dome-like rise in ocean level associated with a hurricane. The difference between this abnormal rise in sea level and the level that normally occurs is called the storm surge. It is highest along and to the immediate right of the location where the eye of the hurricane strikes land.
•   Tornado Warning: If a tornado is reported in the area, a warning will be issued. Tornadoes spawned by hurricanes are capable of producing severe damage and casualties.
•   Tropical Depression: A non-frontal low pressure system which usually originates in the tropics, it rotates counter clockwise and achieves maximum sustained winds of 38 mph.
•  Tropical Storm: A non-frontal low pressure system which usually originates in the tropics, it rotates counter clockwise and achieves maximum sustained winds of 73 mph.
•  Tropical Storm Warning: This warning indicates that there is a strong possibility that a storm, with a wind speed of 39 to 73 mph, which could strike a given area within 24 hours.
•  Tropical Storm Watch: A tropical storm evolves from a tropical depression. This advisory means that a tropical storm could threaten a given area within 36 hours.​
- Severe Thunderstorm Warning: An alert issued when trained storm spotters or a Doppler weather radar indicate that a thunderstorm is producing or will soon produce dangerously large hail or high winds, capable of causing significant damage.
- Severe Thunderstorm Watch: Issued when weather conditions are favorable for the development of severe thunderstorms

Hurricane Intensity:

Categories, Wind Speed Storm Surge, Typical Effects

Category One Hurricane -- Weak but dangerous
74-95 mph (64-82kt)
Minimal Damage: Damage is primarily to shrubbery, trees, foliage, and unanchored mobile homes. No real damage occurs in building structures. Some damage is done to poorly constructed signs.
4-5 ft (1.2-1.5m)
Low-lying coastal roads are inundated, minor pier damage occurs, some small craft in exposed anchorages torn from moorings.

 Category Two  Hurricane -- Moderate
96-110 mph (83-95kt)
Moderate Damage: Considerable damage is done to shrubbery and tree foliage, some trees are blown down. Major structural damage occurs to exposed mobile homes. Extensive damage occurs to poorly constructed signs. Some damage is done to roofing materials, windows, and doors; no major damage occurs to the building integrity of structures.
6-8 ft (1.8-2.4m)
Coastal roads and low-lying escape routes inland may be cut by rising water 2- 4 hours BEFORE the hurricane center arrives. Considerable pier damage occurs, marinas are flooded. Small craft in unprotected anchorages torn from moorings. Evacuation of some shoreline residences and low-lying island areas is required.

Category Three Hurricane -- Strong
111-130 mph (96-113kt)
Extensive damage: Foliage torn from trees and shrubbery; large trees blown down. Practically all poorly constructed signs are blown down. Some damage to roofing materials of buildings occurs, with some window and door damage. Some structural damage occurs to small buildings, residences and utility buildings. Mobile homes are destroyed. There is a minor amount of failure of curtain walls (in framed buildings).
9-12 ft (2.7-3.7m)
Serious flooding occurs at the coast with many smaller structures near the coast destroyed. Larger structures near the coast are damaged by battering waves and floating debris. Low-lying escape routes inland may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours BEFORE the hurricane center arrives. Flat terrain 5 feet (1.5 m) or less above sea level flooded inland 8 miles or more. Evacuation of low- lying residences within several blocks of shoreline may be required.

Category Four Hurricane -- Very Strong
131-155 mph (114-135kt)
Extreme Damage: Shrubs and trees are blown down; all signs are down. Extensive roofing material and window and door damage occurs. Complete failure of roofs on many small residences occurs, and there is complete destruction of mobile homes. Some curtain walls experience failure.
13-18 ft (3.9-5.5m)
Flat terrain 10 feet (3 m) or less above sea level flooded inland as far as 6 miles (9.7 km). Major damage to lower floors of structures near the shore due to flooding and battering by waves and floating debris. Low-lying escape routes inland may be cut by rising water 3-5 hours BEFORE the hurricane center arrives. Major erosion of beaches occurs. Massive evacuation of ALL residences within 500 yards (457 m) of the shoreline may be required, and of single-story residences on low ground within 2 miles (3.2 km) of the shoreline.

Category Five Hurricane** -- Devastating
Greater than 155 mph (135kt)
Catastrophic Damage: Shrubs and trees are blown down; all signs are down. Considerable damage to roofs of buildings. Very severe and extensive window and door damage occurs. Complete failure of roof structures occurs on many residences and industrial buildings, and extensive shattering of glass in windows and doors occurs. Some complete buildings fail. Small buildings are overturned or blown away. Complete destruction of mobile homes occurs.
Greater than 18 ft (5.5m)
Major damage occurs to lower floors of all structures located less than 15 ft (4.6 m) above sea level and within 500 yards (457 m) of the shoreline. Low-lying escape routes inland are cut by rising water 3-5 hours BEFORE the hurricane center arrives. Major erosion of beaches occurs. Massive evacuation of residential areas on low ground within 5 to 10 MILES (8-16 km) of the shoreline may be required!

Before a Severe Weather Event or a Hurricane...

To prepare for a hurricane or severe weatrher, you should take the following measures:

Protect yourself and your home:

  • Refer to the picture below to better explain what you as a homeowner are responsible for regarding the power/service wires going into your house. Many residents are unaware of what is theirs and what Eversource will replace/repair in the event that are pulled down from fallen trees or branches. The homeowner is responsible for everything except the physical meter and wires from the pole. Be informed, Be Aware.
  • To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and Make a family communications plan.
    • At least a 3 day supply of Non-perishable food and a manual can opener.  Do NOT buy items that need to be refridgerated in the event of a long term power loss.
    • Sufficient cash to purchase items. Debit/Credit card machines may be inoperable. ATM Machines may also be inoperable or out of cash during an emergency.
    • Make sure you have sufficient medicine (Prescription and OTC) for yourself and family members and any Special need items. Ie. Diapers, baby food/formula.
    • ​​One Gallon of Water per person, per day for at least 3 days for drinking and sanitation. Do not waste drinking water to wash clothes.
    • Dog/Cat/Pet food, drinking water and any items or medicine they may need 
    • Ensure livestock Horses/Goats/Cows have ample grain, hay & clean water
    • If youre on a Well: Have water in pails to flush toilets, or fill the bathtub prior. Melted Snow/ice also works for this if applicable. 
    • Cell Phone & chargers and a 12v charger/inverter for your car
    • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities 
    • Garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
    • A Whistle to signal for help
    • First Aid Kit
    • Flash Light and extra batteries
    • Battery/Solar/Hand Crank powered weather/AM/FM radio
  • Identify an out-of-town contact or family member at least 50 to 100 miles away that can report your condition to others. It may be easier to make a long distance phone call or text than to call someone also effected by the severe weather. If possible, a post to Social Media will keep loved ones aprised of your situation and provide comfort.  
  • Know your surroundings. Obtain a local map that has grocery stores, restaruants, and gas stations. (The internet will most likely be down and Cell towers unable to stream data) 
  • Teach family members how to use Text messaging. Text Messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not be able to get through and it uses less battery life on your cell phone. Plan ahead and set up a "Family Group" text conversation in your phone. Sign up here for Emergency Alerts to your cell phone.
  • Learn the elevation level of your property and whether the land is flood-prone. This will help you know how your property will be affected when storm surge or tidal flooding are forecasted.
  • Identify levees and dams in your area and determine whether they pose a hazard to you.
  • Make plans to secure your property:
  • Cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
  • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
  • Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed so they are more wind resistant.
  • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
  • Reinforce your garage doors; if wind enters a garage it can cause dangerous and expensive structural damage.
  • Plan to bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans and anything else that is not tied down.
  • Determine how and where to secure your boat.
  • Have a generator installed by a licensed professional for emergencies. Inappropriate genertor connections or plugging into an outlet can kill responders dealing with downed wires miles down the road. 

Protect your Posessions:

  • It is important to review your insurance policies yearly and especialy prior to the start of hurricane season. 
  • Review your policy with an agent or contract the Connecticut Insurance Department to understand what is and what is not covered with your coverage plan. Ensure you are receiving adequate protection in the event of damage and loss. 
  • Keep your policies and insurance in a safe place. 
  • Back-up your computer and Data to the cloud or similar secured storage.
  • Make an inventory of your posessions should your property be damaged and you have to make a claim. 

Protecting your Business: 

  • Develop a prepardness plan - including resource managment, emergency response, crisis communication, business continuity, information technology, employee assistance and incident managment. 
  • Identify regulations that establish minimum requirments for your emergency program. 
  • Gather information about hazards and asess risks. 
  • Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks
  • For Retail, Food, and Fuel stops, Consider opening as soon as possible and/or operating with mimimal staffing during the event as a means to help others during their time of crisis.
    • Prepare for Cash transactions and the inability to take debit/credit cards.