Tag Archives: Westport emergency management team

Town Update: We’re Getting There. But It Will Take A While.

Westport’s Emergency Management Response Team says:

The Department of Public Works has made great progress opening up approximately 40% of the 294 roads that were closed. Last evening they reopened Saugatuck Avenue so that police, fire, and EMS can access Saugatuck Shores without having to pass through East Norwalk.

Part of the standard for restoration is the “Make Safe” program. Town highway crews are paired with Eversource crews to reopen streets blocked by downed trees and power lines. Once the power company verifies that the electricity is off to the downed wires, Public Works crews can then safely remove trees, branches and debris to open the streets. Streets with no secondary access are prioritized so that emergency vehicles can gain access.

Power cannot be safely restored until all the trees are cleared. Unfortunately, this process may take days. There can be no official estimates for when power may be restored while the Make Safe process is ongoing. However, once the next phase begins, more accurate data will be available to provide estimates on times and areas of restoration.

Post Road West, near Academy of Dance, 11 a.m. this morning. (Photo/Leah Nash)

1st Selectman Jim Marpe adds:

I have been in direct contact with Eversource and our legislators about the Eversource response and its expected time frame for restoration, demanding accurate estimates from Eversource for their remaining restoration efforts. Governor Lamont has also stepped in to demand a better response from Eversource.

In an effort to manage expectations regarding estimates of power restoration time, be aware that this storm has created as much electrical infrastructure damage as Super Storm Sandy 8 years ago. Power restoration for some customers in that event took many days. We understand everyone’s frustration with even a day without power, so we will push Eversource in every way possible to speed the process, without compromising safety.

A hanging utility pole, on Quarter Mile Road. (Photo/Richard Epstein)

We are also aware of the challenges with sporadic to non-existent WiFi, internet and cell service. We have been in contact with executives at major carriers, including AT&T, Wireless and Verizon. Cell towers and antennae require commercial power to operate. As a result, they are also affected by the massive outage. The representatives assured us that they are working on temporary solutions to gain some level of service, but ultimately they, like all of us, rely on full restoration by Eversource before they may achieve full capability.

The town is working on establishing locations for public device charging stations.  Seniors age 60 or over can charge their devices on the outside of the Senior Center weekdays between 8:30 and 4:30 p.m. Outdoor public Wi-Fi can be accessed at the train station houses, outside of Town Hall and outside the Westport Library.

Yesterday, there were technical issues that prevented broadcasting on WWPT.  Those issues have been resolved. I encourage residents to tune in to 90.3 FM radio for information and guidance during this emergency.

Linda Doyle lives on Rocky Ridge Road, off Valley Road. She says: “No power. Any source of communication in or out is almost non-existent. Scant emergency texts come from the town that we are able to retrieve! There is no way in or out of the road at this time. Lucky to have great neighbors and friends. We are trying to remain patient and hopeful.” (Photo/Linda Doyle)

While safety remains our utmost concern, we suggest that residents remain at home after dark given that downed wires are harder to be seen at night.  Furthermore, traffic lights continue to be out of service and all intersections must be approached as if a stop sign was there.

Please do not remove caution tape or barricades from roadways; they are there for your safety. If tape or barricades are removed prematurely, personnel must reattach it, taking time away from other vital activities. Exercise extreme caution if out walking, cycling or jogging on the roadways and sidewalks, since many remain blocked by limbs and wires.

We appreciate your continued patience and cooperation as we work effectively and efficiently to address the issues associated with this event. Please remember, we are still fighting the COVID-19 virus so practice social distancing and use face coverings if you choose to leave your home. Please help protect our community as we work together to get through the pandemic and the storm aftermath.

Update on Westport Parks & Recreation:

Town beaches are open, but will close at 8:30 p.m. in an effort to keep people off the roads after dark. Longshore golf course and tennis courts remain closed as clean-up continues and there is no electricity. Access will be available to the ER Strait Marina, Longshore Sailing School and the Pearl restaurant.  Please note that due to the lack of power, fuel is not available at either marina.

Athletic fields are open with the exception of Town Farms and Coleytown Elementary School fields.  For updates on those fields, check with Westport Little League.

Other park facilities that are open include Winslow Park, Machamux Park, Grace Salmon Park, Luciano Park, Eloise Ray Park, Pasacreta Park, Jesup Green and Veterans Green.

The Staples, Town Farms and Doubleday tennis courts are open for play. Other parks will be opened once damage has been assessed and the area is deemed safe.  Please do not enter a park if it has been closed off.

Don’t remove caution tape. It’s there for a reason! (Photo/Bruce Haymes)

REMINDERS

For your safety and the well-being of others:

Only call 911 for true medical emergencies.
Check on your neighbors.
Stay at least 25 feet from downed power lines.
·         Be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators.

·         All generators (portable and installed) should be used in well-ventilated locations outside and at least 10-15 feet away from all doors, windows, and vent openings.

·         Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

If you must drive, use caution, expect delays and detours, and be considerate of other drivers and emergency crews. DO NOT drive around tape or barricades – they have been erected for your safety. Without working traffic signals, intersections must be approached as if a STOP sign was there.  Make a full stop at all intersections and treat this as a four way STOP.

Sign up for Emergency Notifications by registering at www.nixle.com, or texting 06880 to 888777 from your mobile phone

 

Town Officials: Prepare For Isaias

First Selectman Jim Marpe and Westport’s Emergency Management Team are watching a tropical storm, expected to strike here tomorrow (Tuesday). They say:

We ask the community to begin preparations now, and ensure they have a plan of action in place for themselves, their families and/or their business.

Fire Chief Robert Yost says: “Avoid traveling and plan to be home by Tuesday afternoon as we expect damaging winds and flooding. Now is the time to secure your home: check sump pumps, clear gutters, secure your outdoor furniture, BBQs and loose objects.”

Isaias is a tropical storm, not a hurricane. This is the result of Superstorm Sandy, in 2012.

Expect flash flooding due to heavy rains.

⚠️   Seek shelter and avoid traveling once rain and storm winds start.

🚧 Do not walk or drive through flood waters.

Never attempt to drive on or through a flooded road.

🏠 If your building floods, move to a higher floor but do not enter a closed attic.

According to the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Isaias is now forecast to make its closest approach early Tuesday. Tropical storm force winds are expected to arrive a few hours later, at approximately 2 p.m. The latest model indicates that the tropical storm will pack sustained winds of 40-50 MPH, with gusts to 70 MPH when it arrives.

The primary threat from Isaias still appears to be from strong winds. Based on the current NHC forecast we can expect a high end moderate to borderline major impact to trees and power lines.

As with all dying tropical systems there is also the risk for severe thunderstorms, and a few weak tornadoes. The tropical storm will also be accompanied by some heavy rain of 2-4 inches.  Minor to moderate flooding is also possible.

Myrtle Avenue flooding in 2018.

The updated arrival timing brings the strongest winds into the coast at low tide. Therefore, only minor coastal flooding is expected, which may inundate a few low lying coastal roads with wave splash.

Downed power lines can be deadly. Always assume they are live, and avoid going near them or anything in contact with them.

Sign up for emergency notifications by registering at www.nixle.com, or texting “06880” to 888777 from your mobile phone. 

Town Sends Out A Trick-Or-Treat Message

A press release from Westport’s police, fire and selectman’s office says:

Members of the town’s emergency management team and the first selectman have discussed the weather forecast for Halloween, and the effect it may have on trick-or-treating in Westport. The team also discussed requests the town has received to consider changing trick-or-treating night to Friday or Saturday, and the logistics involved in making such a change.

Because trick-or-treating is not a town-sponsored event, the team agreed that it is best to leave the decision up to families and individual neighborhoods to change the night within their own neighborhood.

According to the National Weather Service, current models show a chance for a brief window of drying between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Halloween. Heavy rains and wind will occur after 9 p.m.

In all circumstances, the emergency management team recommends close supervision of all trick-or-treaters. Door-to-door trick-or-treating close to home in familiar areas is advisable.

The Police Department offers the following safety tips for trick-or-treating:

  • Motorists are urged to drive with extreme care and allow extra time to reach destinations, as trick-or-treaters will surely be out on Thursday evening, October 31. Please use the utmost caution when exiting driveways. Please don’t drink and drive.
  • Parents or other responsible adults should accompany all elementary school-age children. Younger children should complete their rounds by 6 p.m., older ones by 8 p.m. Agree on a specific time when older youths are due home, and plan a route with them in advance.
  • Costumes should be easily visible and marked with reflector tape, and/or flashlights should be carried at all times. When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric that could create a fall hazard. Opt for face paint instead of a mask. If your child wears a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see out.
  • Travel in small groups to increase safety.  Encourage children to stay in their own neighborhoods where they are known.
  • Children should only go to the houses where outside lights are on. A darkened house is not prepared to receive them. The police department receives complaints annually regarding doorbells being rung, even though the lights are out.

Trick or treat!