Storm preparedness: Middletown

Middletown, a Delaware County town whose villages of Fleischmanns and Margaretville were both hard-hit by Irene, is already laying plans for emergency communication during next week's expected storm. The town website will be posting emergency updates, and if a state of emergency is declared, recorded information will be available on a new emergency phone line.

A press release issued by the town of Middletown on Friday, October 26:

Margaretville, NY — The Town of Middletown has a section on its website and a dedicated hotline providing resident information in the event of an emergency.

The emergency link on the Town’s website is:

The emergency phone number is 845 586-1115; this phone will be operational only after an emergency declaration has been made; a Facebook page has also been created (Middletown Delaware County).

Information relayed via these outlets will be as accurate and current as possible and will have been approved by Middletown personnel and other emergency officials. The website will be updated continually, as new information becomes available.

In the event of an emergency situation, citizens are reminded to use caution at all times.

“We are hoping for a best-case scenario,” explained Middletown Supervisor Marge Miller. “However, we all need to be prepared for any damage that may result from Hurricane Sandy.”

Margaretville Telephone Company general manager Glen Faulkner told the Watershed Post that the company is preparing for potential floods and power outages. The company has rented a backup generator from a supplier in Newburgh to power crucial equipment in the central office in case the power goes out in the region.

"It's a trailerable generator that can be used in case we run into problems. We have multiple smaller generators, but for the main office we need something with horsepower," Faulkner said. "We have sandbags, and we have contractors who are on standby."

Cellular service is very limited in the region, and the Margaretville Telephone Company's central office on Swart Street is critical to communications in the Middletown area. Last year, during the Irene floods, the company's main backup generator was taken out of commission by flooding, and a second backup generator supplied by the Army Corps of Engineers malfunctioned. If Margaretville had experienced significant power outages, phone and internet service in the company's service area would have gone down as well.

Full disclosure: MTC was founded by Lissa Harris's great-great-grandfather, and she owns shares in the company.