Westfield Mayor Issues Update on Hurricane Sandy Preparations
The Police, Fire and Public Works Departments have readied their personnel, their vehicles and their apparatus and are prepared, says Skibitsky.
The following message from Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky was issued at 7:45 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28:
The Town continues to monitor the path of Hurricane Sandy. I have just concluded a meeting with the Town Council, State Assemblyman Bramnick, and the Town’s professional staff who are essential to seeing this town through Hurricane Sandy, including police, fire and public works. As we are beginning to feel the effects of the approaching storm, I want to reassure residents that the Town has all its resources mobilized to address any storm-related emergencies that may arise. The Police, Fire and Public Works Departments have readied their personnel, their vehicles and their apparatus and are prepared. The Town’s Office of Emergency Management Coordinator is in contact 24/7 with other emergency response agencies at every level of government. I have been assured that PSE&G has all its personnel ready to respond should the storm result in any power outages. New Jersey American Water Co. is also standing by with extra personnel.
Should an emergency arise, immediately call 9-1-1. For non-emergencies, call 789-4130 to reach the Fire Department or 789-4000 to reach the Police Department. PSE&G advises to call 1-800-436-PSEG (7734) to report a power outage.
Rain and winds are expected to begin later tonight, increasing in intensity throughout the night. The full brunt of the storm is not expected to arrive until Monday afternoon, October 29. The challenge of this storm in particular, in addition to tropical storm force winds and high rainfall totals, will be its duration. It is not expected to move away until early Wednesday morning. Such conditions may lead to prolonged power outages because utility crews cannot respond until the dangerous weather conditions subside. However, on a better note, since Hurricane Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm, PSE&G has assured me that they have made significant investments in its delivery system designed to help withstand severe storms, including replacing older lower voltage lines with higher capacity lines that can better withstand wind and rain, spending millions of dollars pruning trees away from power lines; tightening coordination with county Offices of Emergency Management to improve communication with local officials and provide the latest information on outages and restoration progress, and improving their automated call answering system so customers can be better connected.
I have received several inquiries about evacuations and shelters. Because Westfield is not situated in a coastal flood zone and does not have a river running through it, it is not affected by the evacuation mandates that apply to coastal communities and those communities with rivers known to overflow their banks. Although there may be pockets of localized street flooding should the storm sewers become temporarily overcharged, we do not anticipate the necessity for a mass evacuation. According to Governor Christie, shelters are a place of last resort for a group of evacuees who have no other place to go. The best place for Westfield residents to be throughout the storm is in their own home. Should anyone experience an emergency that results in their home becoming inhabitable, our police and fire personnel will work with the Red Cross chapter in Westfield to assist the affected residents with sheltering.
I am sure that by now, just as the Town has been preparing for the storm, most Westfield residents have made the necessary preparations for their homes and families. It is now time to stay home and stay safe. Governor Christie has declared a State of Emergency and asks that all residents stay off the roads as much as possible as downed wires, falling trees, flying debris and flooding may put your life at risk. Do not go outdoors during the storm. Do not go near ponding or moving water. If you observe any downed wires, assume they are live and stay far away. Be very careful if you need to use candles. The Police Department has activated the Westfield radio station, AM 1690 on your dial. For additional information and helpful guidance, please refer to the list of websites on our homepage under "Hurricane Sandy Information Center" and follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/TownOfWestfield.)
Please note that the municipal building offices will be closed on Monday, October 29. Of course, emergency services personnel will be on duty. Again, should an emergency arise, immediately call 9-1-1. For non-emergencies, call 789-4130 to reach the Fire Department or 789-4000 to reach the Police Department.
Again, stay home and stay safe.
- NJ TRANSIT to begin gradual suspension of service
- Westfield Public Schools Closed on Monday, October 29th
- Governor Chris Christie Declares State of Emergency
- NJ DEP Launches Hurricane Sandy Web Site
- Keep Leaves Off Streets
- Message from Mayor Skibitsky Regarding Hurricane Sandy (Friday 10/26)
- PSE&G Storm Preparations
- Ward 1 & 2 Recycling Rescheduled