Kultur Haus Helvetia
One developing function of Kultur Haus Helvetia is that of an emergency center. In a remote area like Helvetia, shelter, supplies, electricity, and communication can be disrupted for considerable periods of time. After Superstorm Sandy, the deracho of 2012, and similar outages, KHH has provided a central location for residents and visitors to access information and supplies.
To date, we have acquired a propane backup system to heat the kitchen and downstairs bedroom of the Alpen Lodge. We plan to acquire both CB radios for local communications by providing at-risk community members with walkie talkies and short wave to communicate with emergency providers and distant family members. We also hope to acquire an electricity generator.
As funds become available and equipment is donated, the Emergency Center aspect of Kultur Haus Helvetia will be fully developed.History
In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the KHH building and its features became critical resources for the community. Even when electricity, telephone, and Internet access were not available, Kultur Haus Helvetia provided a center for information and communication as well as shelter. As the structure can be heated with wood, it stayed warm.
Electricity, telephone, and Internet access returned to KHH more quickly than to outlying areas as it is on the main power and telephone lines. Residents used the telephone and Internet to communicate with family members and information requests came in there. The National Guard, utility crews, and other emergency responders checked in there for information. One interesting feature was that people with iPads and other portable Internet devices could park in front of the building 24 hours a day to use the wireless Internet access in their vehicles. People even did their laundry there.
It took nearly a month for power to come back in all areas of the community and up to five weeks for telephone and Internet service. One person stayed at the Kultur Haus three weeks before services were restored to his home.