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  • Writer's pictureJessica Cyr

Reflections on an outage

A powerful snowstorm swept through South Berwick, leaving a trail of beauty and chaos in its wake. For me, it meant 30 hours without power—a reminder of the fragility of our modern conveniences and the resilience of our community.

Last Tuesday, I had the opportunity to attend an emergency preparedness meeting with key town officials invited by the Town Manager and led by the Emergency Management Director. I sat between the superintendent of schools and Fire Chief. Sitting alongside them, discussing the storm's potential impact, highlighted the importance of a proactive approach. Members from the Police Department, Public Works and Recreation Department spoke about the community's needs of a warming center and the order of operations to report road closures if the dispatch center in Sanford was overwhelmed with calls. There was a discussion to save receipts in the event a federal disaster was declared so we could submit for reimbursement. This shift in mindset, from reactive to proactive, not only improves our Town's preparedness but also fosters better communication and collaboration among all parties. These efforts ultimately contribute to a safer community for us all.

Despite the challenges, there were moments of warmth and connection. With the power out, I spent precious time with my growing kids, building snowmen and eating cheese and crackers for dinner. The thaw on Friday brought neighbors out of their homes. I spoke with the school district's food service director who had stopped by Great Works School to swap food from the refrigerator over to the freezer-which displayed her dedication to minimize spoilage. However, amidst the storm's aftermath, there was also loss. A dear friend, an absolute gem of a person, said goodbye after battling a long illness. The experience of being without power helped me empathize more deeply with those suffering around the world --those in pain, those facing environmental disaster and those experiencing war. It underscored the importance of reaching out and supporting one another, especially in times of need.

As I reflect on this experience, I am grateful for the safety and security I have. I remember a time when a power outage, especially when my kids were in diapers, felt crippling. With a change of outlook and a greater sense of empathy, I am reminded of our collective strength and resilience. We are not alone in our struggles, and together, we can weather any storm.

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