Tom Coughlin, National Grid’s liaison for Foxborough, told selectmen Monday he expects to see downed trees and branches in Foxborough caused by Hurricane Sandy’s high winds, which may lead to power outages.
“Hopefully all the main [utility] lines are clear but I expect we are going to see branches fall on some of the house services and trees on private property,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin said his fingers are crossed that Foxborough’s power outages will not be severe.
“We are hopefully just going to see little things like downed services, which are easy to repair,” he said.
As of 3:30 p.m. Monday, it has been fairly quiet on the power outage front in Foxborough – knock on wood – despite nearly 50,000 National Grid customers in Massachusetts reporting outages. According to National Grid’s website, there was 49,838 customers affected by 612 outages throughout the Commonwealth as of 3:32 p.m. None of those reported outages were in Foxborough.
There was, however, a report Monday morning of an outage to one of the town’s pumping stations, which was quickly addressed by the Foxborough Fire Department and Coughlin.
“Had a report of one outage – one of the pumping stations,” Coughlin said.
Foxborough Deputy Fire Chief [Steven] Bagley and Coughlin went out to survey the station, saying it was likely just a fuse.
Town Manager Kevin Paicos said Bagley and Coughlin will be working as a team during Hurricane Sandy to provide direct communication between the town and National Grid.
Coughlin encourages any residents experiencing a power outage to report it to National Grid by calling 1-800-465-1212. To report downed wires or trees in town, residents are asked to call Foxborough Fire at (508) 543-1238.
“I would not hesitate to call Foxborough Fire/Police dispatch [about downed wires],” Coughlin said. “I will be sitting up there so they will be feeding that information to me.”
Coughlin says he hopes the work National Grid has done over the past year pays off as he’s seen communication improve tremendously since the two storms last year.
“There’s a lot of support behind me to make sure we do the job better this time,” Coughlin said.
Foxborough DPW Asks Residents to Clear Storm Drains
Foxborough DPW director Roger Hill said crews were out working Friday to clear as many storm drains as they could get to but with rain and wind over the weekend, expected those drains to be plugged up again Monday and has asked residents to help out.
“I urge residents to clear leaves away from catch basins so water can go down,” Hill said.
Hill said the DPW has divided the town into four quadrants Monday to more effectively respond and clear any debris caused by the storm.
“Each quadrant has a piece of heavy equipment and a crew,” Hill said. “Plan is to get anything that comes down off the roads. If it has wires on it then of course we have to work with National Grid.”
Hill said the DPW won’t be doing any chipping until Tuesday but he will keep crews on the clock as long as necessary Monday to make sure roads stay open.
Fire Chief Urges Caution with Downed Wires and Use of Generators
Foxborough Fire Chief Roger Hatfield issued the following message to residents who may encounter downed wires during or after the storm.
“Any resident sees a wire down, always treat it as live,” Hatfield said. “Stay away from it. I would rather have us come out and validate that you are safe and you’re home is safe.”
And for those who may lose power and turn to generators, Hatfield is urging caution to you as well.
“We have had a lot of folks over the last year that have gotten generators,” Hatfield said. “We have been stressing to make sure if you are going to be connecting a generator to your home that it’s been installed appropriately so that it’s not causing any danger to the folks working for National Grid or anyone else. Last year, we saw a lot of back feeding into the system and a lot of Carbon Monoxide emergencies because people had them installed the wrong way.”
Foxborough Council on Aging Director Says to Check on Your Neighbors
Foxborough Council on Aging Executive Director Vicki Lowe told selectmen Monday the biggest message she would like to get out to the public was to check on neighbors during and after the storm.
“If you are concerned about an elderly person or someone who is disabled, go check on them,” Lowe said. “Call of us [at (508) 543-1252] if they need help.”