Sandy expected to hit today, town to open shelters and urges residents be prepared

As Hurricane Sandy approaches, the town is urging residents take precautions to protect themselves and their property. It has already been suggested that residents in coastal and low lying areas of town prone to flooding evacuate during the daylight hours on Sunday.

Greenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei has been meeting in recent days  with town officials and key stakeholders like Greenwich Hospital, Connecticut Light & Power and town Emergency Management Coordinator Daniel Warzoha to go over preprations. The town’s Emergency Operations Center will open on Sunday in anticipation of the storm and residents were urged to prepare. Residents in need of sandbags can get them at the Sound Beach Firehouse in Old Greenwich, the Cos Cob Fire Station and at the Glenville Fire Station.

Mr. Tesei will be using the town’s reverse 911 system to get in touch with residents about the storm. If you are not signed up for the service, you can do so at greenwichct.org/News/Emergency_Preparedness/Emergency_E-mail_Notification_System/ where you can have updates sent to your e-mail as well directly from the town.

A decision on whether to open schools on Monday is expected to be made on Sunday and the town will also be opening two emergency shelters on Sunday at Eastern Middle School at 51 Hendrie Avenue at noon at 449 Pemberwick Road. and at the Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center at 6 p.m. However, pet owners are advised that only service animals are allowed at the shelters and that they must make their own arrangements for their pets.

Mr. Tesei said that preparations are being made to open the Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center as an emergency shelter The town’s departments, including police, fire and Greenwich Emergency Medical Services will be prepared with staff and resources for a multi-day response to the storm if necessary. People buying generators in anticipation of power loss are reminded to take precautions when operating them. Generators and automobiles should not be run indoors, including garages with the doors open, or near open windows or vents due to the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Regular updates are expected to be posted on the town’s website at greenwich.ct.org and the Post will provide information to the people as needed at Greenwich-post.com and at twitter.com/greenwichpost. The town is expected to issue updates on the storm preparations daily at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. as long as needed starting on Monday morning. Additional information from the town is expected to be released on Sunday as well.

Property owners in need of sandbags may pick them up from a number of town sites. Career and volunteer firefighters and other town personnel were filling them up last night and people can get them at the Sound Beach Firehouse in Old Greenwich, at the Cos Cob Fire Station and at the Glenville Fire Station. Supplies will be replenished as needed, but residents are urged to please be considerate of the needs of others and limit yourself to only those that you require.

Town boat owners were told to take steps to protect their vessels.

“Please take every precaution to prevent damage to your vessel, your neighbor’s vessel, and other property,” Mr. Tesei said on Friday. “If your vessel is trailerable, the best action is to haul your vessel. The town launching ramps will be available to any resident who wishes to haul out. If you need a place to leave your vessel until the storm passes, you may use the Town’s parking and storage lots within the marine facilities.”

However, people docking boats and within town parking or storage lots are also warned to make sure and speak to one of the town employees or dock masters on location prior to leaving their vessel. There will be areas marked off where people should not store vessels. Boaters should also make sure their vessels are secured to the trailers and that valuables and any canvas that can increase windage, or be torn, are removed. People should also leave their names on the trailer and make sure to reclaim their vessels once the storm has passed.

“Upland storage space is limited, so please be considerate of others when leaving your vessel,” Mr. Tesei said. “If you cannot haul your vessel, make every effort to secure the vessel following generally practiced hurricane preparedness actions. “

More information is available at boatus.com/hurricanes/assets/pdf/HurricaneWarning.pdf

Greenwich pet owners are also being urged by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to develop an emergency evacuation plan to keep their families and pets safe before the storm makes landfall.

“The best thing you can do for you and your pet is to plan ahead before Hurricane Sandy makes landfall,” Dick Green director of disaster response for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team said in a press release on Friday. “Don’t wait until the last minute to see if Hurricane Sandy will affect your community. Act now and tune in to your local news to monitor the hurricane’s path. And remember, please take your pets with you if you need to evacuate.”

The following tips will help pet owners prepare for natural disasters:

• Obtain a rescue alert sticker, which will let rescuers know that pets are inside your home. Make sure it is visible and that it includes: 1) the types and number of pets in your household; 2) the name of your veterinarian; and 3) your veterinarian’s phone number.

• Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home during a crisis.

• Make sure all pets wear collars and tags with up-to-date identification. The ASPCA recommends micro-chipping your pet as a more permanent form of identification.

• Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave your pets behind.

• Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet first aid supplies.

For more information on disaster preparedness and safety tips from the ASPCA, please visit aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/, or blog.aspca.org/content/how-prepare-your-pets-hurricane-sandy.

For further updates, check Greenwich-post.com and twitter.com/greenwichpost.

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