Today’s Update — Valuable Info!

Thanks to for this edited update of this morning’s Emergency Operations Center broadcast by fire inspector Nate Gibbons, on WWPT-FM 90.3:

Power restorations are continuing today with slow but steady progress. Yesterday we were 88 percent out, today we’re about 70 percent out.

Hillspoint Road and Hales Court got their power back last night. Today it’s likely that Compo Road South will get power on down as far as the Minute Man statue.

CL&P has three tree crews and 15 line crews working in town, and today additional out-of-town help came from Hydro-Quebec.

Town crews continue to fight the battle to open all the town’s roads. Ten roads remain completely impassable at this time and both town and CL&P tree crews will be working to open them.

About 40 roads remain partially blocked with one lane of traffic. Please use caution and proceed past these leaning trees at no faster than a walking speed.

Main Street Westport has made remarkable progress towards getting their power back on. Twenty-four hours ago almost 60 stores were flooded and out of commission.

That number is now down to about a dozen. Building officials, the fire marshal and fire inspectors are working to square those away by early afternoon. We are hoping to energize Main Street later this afternoon.

This is not a guarantee and is contingent on clean electrical inspections in those remaining dozen stores. So, if you’re managing a store on Main Street, please have an employee in the store starting at 2 p.m. today. We want someone in every store when the power returns in case hidden damage causes a problem.

We will be staging fire apparatus on Main Street as a precaution when the switches get thrown.

The Building Department will be starting to check individual home electrical services in the heavily damaged beach and shore areas today. If you can get in touch with a private licensed electricians to inspect your home and certify it can safely have power restored, please do so. That will speed up the process. Town inspectors will carry identification.

Schools are closed the rest of the week. With cold nights now ahead of us, warming centers are being considered as is reopening a shelter for those with no heat.

Compo Beach is open. Burying Hill Beach is closed. And special alert to boaters -– all town marinas are open to day so you can check your vessels.

Friendly reminder to stay clear of the residential neighborhoods around the beaches. They remain unsafe in places, there is significant oil and sewage contamination, and remember that support for our neighbors who suffered this damage includes respecting their privacy.

The transfer station is open on the Connector – as is the yard waste site. The Resco plant is still closed, so please consider holding your trash for a few days as space is limited at the dump.

The Westport Weston Family Y remains closed and will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

The Saugatuck Shores area is still “residents only.” Harbor Road is open to emergency vehicles and utility crews only. Residents should use Marsh Court to access the shores. The wood bridge is still out.

Wires are still a big risk. Treat all downed wires as live. Give them a wide berth- 15 feet at least.

If you see wires burning or sparking, propane tanks leaking, smell a strong odor of gas, or other immediately life-threatening emergency, call 911.

If you have wires down that are not burning, report them to CL&P by calling 800-286-2000.

If you have an issue with fuel oil or a fuel oil tank that has tipped over or is leaking, please call the fire department at 203-341-5011.

Keep your eyes peeled for hanging branches that can drop without warning.

Do not drive past barriers or fire line tape. Do not remove barriers or fire line tape- they are there for all of our protection.

Food—if your fridge and freezer have been out since Monday, it’s past the time to safely eat anything. Please don’t take the risk.

Water—if you need water, all our fire stations have hoses available for filling your own bottles and containers.

Trash disposal – there is no bulk pick-up of waterlogged items by the town. If you pile stuff on the road, crews have been instructed to push it back onto your property. Please hire a contractor or dumpster to dispose of your damaged materials.

If you are using a portable generator, please pay attention to the following critical safety rules:

Run all generators outside your dwelling a minimum of 15 feet away.

Do not run them in a garage ever. Use heavy duty extension cords only.

Do not use light duty lamp cord or the cheapy green cords we use for holiday lighting.

Plug only one appliance into each extension cord at a time. Check the extension cord for temperature. If it gets warm or hot to the touch disconnect it immediately.

Never refuel your generator while it’s running. Turn it off, gas it up, then re-start it.

Fireplaces, wood stoves and heaters – it’s going to get cold over the next few days and many of us will be burning wood to heat our homes. Please remember the following important safety guidelines

If you haven’t used your fireplace in several years. Have a pro check it out first.

Make sure the flue is open. If you don’t know what a flue is, then you shouldn’t be using the fireplace to begin with. And when you go to bed, you leave the flue open all night. Closing the flue can trap CO in your home and poison you.

Third – only burn wood, kindling, and newspaper in your fireplace. No combustible liquids, no garbage, and never, ever, ever gasoline.

Use a fire screen. Keep all combustibles well clear of the hearth, and if you’re using those pre-fab pressed sawdust logs, only burn one at a time.

If you are using a portable heater and powering it off a generator, heaters draw lots of current. Use only a heavy duty extension cord, 12-3 at least.

Check the cord for overheating while the heater is running, and always keep the heater away from bedding, upholstery, rugs, or other combustible items. You heater should also have a safety cut out that kills it if it tips over.

And traffic –  Be sure you come to a complete stop at any traffic light that has no power.

We’ve had a number of folks calling in to volunteer with our monumental clean-up task. Parks and Rec will be coordinating these efforts, and later today I should have a contact number for all you potential volunteers.

For the most updated information go to the town’s website, At that site you can also sign up for Twitter updates, and also if you have not already done so, sign up for the CodeRed telephone and email alerts.

Check the link at the town site for the status on road closures. The next update will be today after 4 p.m.

7 responses to “Today’s Update — Valuable Info!

  1. About the best thing about this entire episode is listening to Nate Gibbons’s several times a day updates on 90.3 FM. His voice has the sound of common sense, gives you the feeling that he’s talking personally to you, and on your side. There’s even well needed humor. Anyone who would like to be reassured that the town is being managed by smart people who have things under control should treat him or herself to these broadcasts. Nate is a rock star.

  2. Dan, I hope those that actually need the information you’re providing understand how lucky they are to have you and your blog. I’m sitting here in sunny Southern California and am wondering if we’ll have anything like this when the big one hits? Thank you!

  3. Hi Dan, really do appreciate you supervising the kids to help out and informing them of people in need and proud to see my son getting involved but as one of the lucky 15% with power am feeling useless and would love to know how i could help in a less physically demanding way (having bad shoulders!!) I have an undamaged warm house and am here for all charging needs, showers, laundry or could be put to use somewhere, please let me know. I am sure there are many of us out there wanting to help but unsure how.

    • THANKS, Emma. Harry has been a great help. Today he was down again at the beach, this time shoveling out Coach Paul Lane’s front yard.

      As for your very generous offer to help: Hopefully you’ll get some takers! If I hear of any needs, I’ll direct them to you. Much appreciated!

  4. One quick comment about extension cords. The number used 12-3 refers to 12 gauge, 3 wire/conductor. The three wires is two for the normal power plus one for ground. An interesting quirk of electricity is that as one needs to handle MORE power, the “gauge” number goes down. What this means is that if your extension cord gets warm as mentioned in the posting, you need an extension cord with a gauge SMALLER than 12-3 rating, such as 10-3 or 8-3. Remember, the SMALLER the gauge rating, the MORE power the wire can handle.

  5. Gerry Kuroghlian

    So proud of the Staples soccer team and their coach Dan woog!!!!!