The McLean Citizens Association decided on Wednesday night that Dominion Power and the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management need to improve response times to future natural disasters, based on the county's and the utility's performance after the June 29 derecho, which wiped out power to tens of thousands of homes in the Dranesville District.
The association passed a resolution this week, citing the fact that many residents were not able to reach a 911 call center during a deadly heat wave that followed the storm and that the first cooling centers in McLean did not open until July 4, five days after the derecho hit the metro area.
“It was pretty much a huge order of magnitude of a disaster," said Patrick Smaldore, chair of the citizen association's public safety liaison committee.
The resolution, passed unanimously by the association's board, concluded that the Office of Emergency Management needs to try to give residents more advance warning about potential disasters. It also concludes that the Dranesville district needs "at least one substantial public facility with adequate generator power to heat and cool the facility in the event of a power outage."
The association agreed that Dominion needs to make restoring power to the Dranesville district a priority in future outages. The resolution also states that the association is willing to work with the utility company to study the costs of "undergrounding" power lines,
Tree trimming is another priority the association set out in the resolution.
A town hall meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Great Falls Public Library meeting room to discuss the aftermath of the derecho. Representatives from Dominion will be present.