Town opens command post to hasten repair, recovery efforts
As the week-long efforts to fully restore power and clean debris from Hurricane Sandy continued Monday, town officials took steps to help promote a transition to normalcy by establishing a new system for access to homes in the hard-hit beach area.
Meanwhile, representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency set up shop at Veterans Park on Reef Road to help the owners of storm-damaged properties seek assistance.
"We're trying to do a couple of things," Police Chief Gary MacNamara said. "We're trying to make Vets Park a location where residents can get access passes, FEMA information and food."
At the command center, beach area residents will be issued a pass for their vehicles, eliminating the need to stop and show identification to National Guard troops stationed at neighborhood checkpoints. They also can bring a contractor with them into the storm zone.
FEMA representatives will also be in a heated tent behind the command center in the park, where people can apply with the federal agency for possible disaster relief, as well as get warm and pick up a sandwich, water and ready-to-eat meals from the Salvation Army.
FEMA and the Salvation Army were scheduled to staff the center until 5 p.m. Monday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday. But people can also register online for FEMA relief at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, said FEMA spokeswoman Rita Egan. Egan said property owners should have their insurance policy with them, as some policies cover payments for temporary housing. She added homeowners also may be eligible for Small Business Administration loans, which are available to residential and business properties alike after a declared disaster.
The town also has launched a bulk collection of damaged household furnishings and possession from flooded areas. Residents should put the water-damaged items at the curb for pick up.
More InformationINFO RESOURCES Fairfield storm center: 203-254-4899 Police Department: 203-254-4800 (non-emergency) Fire Department: 203-254-4700 (non-emergency) Building Department: 203-256-3036 United Illuminating: 800-722-5584 Southern Connecticut Gas: 800-659-8299 Website: www.fairfieldct.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/FPDCT FEMA: 1-800-621-3362 or www.DisasterAssistance.gov
And while much attention has been focused on the devastated beach area, First Selectman Michael Tetreau said he also plans to inspect the Lake Mohegan area, where some residents remained without power Monday.
"Right now there are over 100 UI crews in town," Tetreau said. "Theoretically, there should be crews everywhere." He said UI works to restore circuits in its network that have the largest number of outages first.
Both he and MacNamara said the town will not tolerate abuse or harassment of power company repair crews. There were at least two reports Monday where crews in town felt they were being harassed, MacNamara said.
"It's easy to the understand the rage," Tetreau said, "but the UI crews have been out in the cold, in the dark, in the rain, working hard to get power restored for the last eight days ... The issues with UI are not with the lines crew, but senior management having a better plan in place and being more responsive to the customers."
Fairfield storm center: 203-254-4899
Police Department: 203-254-4800 (non-emergency)
Fire Department: 203-254-4700 (non-emergency)
Building Department: 203-256-3036
United Illuminating: 800-722-5584
Southern Connecticut Gas: 800-659-8299
FEMA: 1-800-621-3362 or www.DisasterAssistance.gov