Editorial: Rapid response

Twice in the last few weeks, volunteers and professionals have rushed to help when a building in Bar Harbor flooded. Their eagerness to help brings to mind images of neighbors stacking sandbags on a riverbank to hold back floodwaters: “all hands on deck” situations that, when they’re over, leave us grateful to have so many willing hands in the community.

Two weeks ago a drain malfunction led to flooding in the Jesup library in a heavy rainstorm. The library’s board and other volunteers rushed in with bath towels, Shop Vacs and pumps. The Jackson Laboratory loaned an industrial pump. Mostly, there was a huge amount of lugging materials around the building and up and down stairs. This came after the staff had finally gotten everything back in place from a previous flooding.

The library rivals any other in the state and region in the important stuff: collections, community gathering, the arts, education. The flood underscored the urgent need for the improvements that the Jesup’s current capital campaign is aimed at providing: the space and infrastructure that will allow the staff and volunteers to focus on the important stuff.

Then, on Super Bowl Sunday, dozens of volunteer firefighters and professionals interrupted their game day preparations to respond to a flood at Conners Emerson School. The school’s principal was there, a master field officer leading the response, offering encouragement and keeping lines of communication open.

Thanks to the quick work of all who responded, damage appears to be minimal and students were back to school Tuesday. The school’s facilities will also, in the longer term, need serious work. But emergencies like this highlight the importance of safety and alarm systems, first responders and the local small businesses willing to respond on what was expected to be a day off.

Hats off to everyone who jumped in to lend a hand in either or both of these crises.

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