Update for Westfield Residents from Mayor Skibitsky, November 1, 11 p.m.
Friday, November 2, 2012 • 9:53am
WESTFIELD, NJ - The following statement has been released by Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky:
- URGENT: Please do not go near any downed wires. Assume every wire is a live wire.
- URGENT: The Fire Department issued the following warnings: Do not run any type of fuel-powered equipment inside of your home or in any enclosed space such as a garage, even if the garage door is open. This includes generators, gas grills, charcoal grills and portable fire places. All equipment should be at least 15 feet from your home. Running fuel powered equipment in or too close to an enclosed structure, including a garage with its door open, can lead to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure all candles and all fires inside an approved wood burning stove or fireplace are attended to at all times.
- PSE&G crews are working in Westfield. Please be assured that if you do not see a truck on your street, it does not mean that PSE&G is not working in town or working on a substation to restore power to the power grid. Over 2,250 Westfield customers have had their power restored as of 9:00 a.m. Thursday (11/1) morning.
- I have been, and will continue to be, in contact with PSE&G every day regarding restoration efforts. PSE&G has “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.” In addition to restoring the power lines in Westfield that were dragged down by the fallen trees and limbs, 6 PSE&G substations around the region that service Westfield must be repaired and brought back online. I cannot emphasize enough that I, along with your State representatives and Governor Christie, are advocating on your behalf. It is understood that being without electricity may be a major inconvenience or hardship, but please keep in mind that the time it will take to get all power restored is not due to a lack of concern or effort, but rather due the magnitude of the damage to the infrastructure caused by the historic storm.
- Please remember that the Department of Public Works cannot remove any tree or branch that has wires near or embedded in them. PSE&G must first deactivate the power source and then a tree service contracted by PSE&G tends to the tree.
- The Westfield Memorial Library is open during the day and may be used as a charging station for your mobile devices. Internet access is available as well. The Library is also serving as a warming center and an information hub.
- Westfield schools will remain closed through Friday, November 2. Provided power to the schools is restored, schools will be open Monday through Friday of next week, November 5 through 9. Please note that the schools were originally scheduled to be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 8 and 9, for the annual teachers’ convention. That convention has been cancelled and schools will be in session on those days, again, provided there is power. Please contact your school for more information.
- There is a false report being circulated that the water supply will be shut off. This is a rumor, it is absolutely not true. (Westfield is serviced by New Jersey American Water and I have been in direct contact with the company to verify that this report is false.)
- 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 the water 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.
- The Conservation Center will be open Thursday through Sunday, November 1 through November 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Residents do not need a permit to bring organic storm debris from their property to the center.
- Please remember to vote. Voting will take place as scheduled on Election Day, November 6, at your regular voting place. Polls will be open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Also, citizens may take advantage of early voting at the Union County Clerk’s satellite office in the Union County Administration Building, 300 North Ave., Westfield. Contact the County at 908-654-9859 for further information.