Westfield Mayor Issues Post-Sandy Update
Skibitsky asks that residents continue to stay at home and off the roads.
The Town of Westfield posted this message from Mayor Andy Skibitsky on its website Tuesday evening:
Now that Hurricane Sandy has passed, I am urging residents to continue to stay home and stay off the roads as much as possible. In addition to the State of New Jersey’s declaration, the County of Union has declared a state of emergency effective through 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31, due to the extent of fallen trees, blocked roadways, downed wires and power outages. There are numerous traffic signals throughout the Town and County that are not functioning. In addition to endangering yourself and your passengers, any non-essential traffic on the roads will delay tree and power line removal by PSE&G as well as slow the Town’s clean-up and recovery efforts.
Since sunrise, I have been touring the town to assess the damage. Though we were spared flood and water damage, the 70+ mile an hour sustained winds caused many trees and heavy branches in town to fall, blocking local roadways and bringing live power lines down with them. Approximately 50 homes sustained damage from uprooted trees or fallen limbs.
URGENT: Please do not go near any downed wires. Assume every wire is a live wire.
I have been, and will continue to be, in contact with PSE&G regarding restoration efforts. As of this morning, over 90% of the homes in Westfield were without power. According to PSE&G, they have, “assembled a ‘virtual army’ of over 1,550 technicians -- 600 PSE&G workers and 950 workers from across the country -- plus an additional 600 contractors to cut and remove trees.” Nevertheless, due to the extent of the outages across the state, PSE&G reported that it may take days and possibly weeks to restore all power. Now that the dangerous winds have subsided, PSE&G crews have been dispatched.
Residents are encouraged to reference the PSE&G Outage Center at: http://www.pseg.com/home/customer_service/outage_info/outagemap.jsp. In addition, PSE&G has activated its Twitter page to keep the public informed about its restoration progress. Sign up as a follower athttp://twitter.com/psegdelivers to monitor restoration progress from your mobile device.
New Jersey American Water is asking its customers to voluntarily conserve water indefinitely as many of the company’s facilities are operating on emergency generators. According to the company, “Voluntary water conservation reduces the demand on the water system while it operates on backup power.” I want to emphasize that water service has not been interrupted and the company has not issued any boil water advisories. The request to conserve water is being made only to lessen demand on the treatment and distribution systems that are operating on back-up power. For more information and tips on how to conserve, go to: http://www.amwater.com/njaw/.
Although some of our fellow residents have suffered some property damage and those of us without power will be inconvenienced, the very good news is that there have been no serious storm-related injuries to our residents or to our emergency services and public works personnel who worked all night long under horrific conditions.
Again, I cannot stress this enough, for your safety and the safety of others, please stay home. As darkness falls, you may not be able to see a down power line or other hazard. Continue to check the Town’s website for further updates or follow the town on Twitter @TownOfWestfield from your mobile device.
I have been advised that there will be no school tomorrow, October 31, due to the lingering effects of the storm and safety concerns. It follows, then, that Halloween Trick or Treat activities are necessarily postponed until further notice.
I want to thank all of the Westfield residents who prepared so well, heeded the warnings, and sheltered with their families in their homes. I am certain that your cooperation during this historic storm saved lives. I know I can count on your continued cooperation and patience during this critical time.
Mayor Andy Skibitsky