Mayor Jordan issues ice storm statement

Mayor Lioneld Jordan has issued some statements concerning Ice Storm 2009. We’ll digest this more and try to pick apart the things you’ve been asking us about in the comments of our posts as the day goes on but until then, here is the statement in its entirety:

Working Together; Meeting the Challenges

Mayor Lioneld Jordan – January 30, 2009

My central message today is this: No one in Fayetteville should have to suffer unduly from the effects of this ice storm. It doesn’t matter whether you’re poor or unemployed, a renter or homeless, a student or a corporate executive- you should be able to stay safe and warm, and the City is doing and will continue to do everything in its power to help you.

I want to recognize the outstanding work of our city employees in all divisions and departments. It is an honor for me to work with such dedicated people who are committed to serving our citizens at all times and under such difficult conditions. I also appreciate the work of the Red Cross to establish an emergency shelter and the ongoing efforts of the private utility companies – SWEPCO and Ozarks Electric Cooperative – to restore electrical power to our homes and businesses.

Our citizens have responded with compassion and concern. Many have called my office to report conditions and alert us to the needs of their neighbors, and the number offering to volunteer to help has been heartwarming. I thank you for everything you do for our community.

I am grateful that President Barack Obama today issued an emergency disaster declaration allowing us to avail ourselves of federal resources from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and funding, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act. Governor Mike Beebe has declared a state of emergency allowing state agencies to more easily coordinate with the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.

What We Are Doing

  • The City has worked to set up multiple shelters. One shelter is located at the Fayetteville Boys & Girls Club located at Rupple Road. The 2nd is located at the Salvation Army Shelter on 15th street in South Fayetteville, and the 3rd shelter opening today is located at Central United Methodist Church, located at the corner of Dickson Street and Highland Ave. Individuals with special medical needs can find shelter at the Washington County Health Department located at 3720 North Wimberley Rd in Fayetteville. The Red Cross, Salvation Army and City Staff are staffing the shelters. 3 meals per day are being provided. Citizens can come in to eat, sleep, charge cell phones or just find safe, warm shelter.
  • The City has also staffed phones so that citizens might call in to provide hazardous area information, or to get questions answered. These phones have been staffed 24/7 and the numbers are 479-575-8330 and 479-575-8228.
  • All City Transportation, Water/Sewer, Solid Waste, and Park field crews are currently working to clear downed trees from public roadways while communicating with utility companies where downed power lines are creating hazards or prohibiting additional tree trimming due to downed power lines hanging on downed trees.
  • All street department staff schedules have been adjusted to provide full clearing & tree removal services during 12 hour daylight shifts (6AM TO 6PM) so that we can maximize clean-up efforts. City crews will be working this weekend both Saturday and Sunday as well to maximize clean up efforts.
  • The City is partnering with the Federal FEMA, State of AR Emergency Management leadership, and County Emergency Management Staff to obtain requested equipment, and resource needs associated with the declaration of emergency and State of Emergency designation for the City of Fayetteville. The city has established a tracking code, and is utilizing the Hansen Work Order system to track storm related request so that no items get dropped during the process.
  • The City is working closely with SWEPCO/AEP and Ozark Electric to communicate power outages that have been reported to the City offices and Transportation department; as well as where downed power lines are within public right away and public lands.
    • We have been told by SWEPCO/AEP that they estimate that 95% of customers electric services will be restored by midnight Saturday.
    • Additionally, there will be locations all throughout the city where 2 to 3 homes may be affected by not having power while those around them are restored. These instances will occur due to site specific issues.
    • Power outages are being prioritized based on emergency service requirements, hospitals and medical care facilities, shelters, senior housing, schools and essential service facilities.
  • The City has worked with Ozark Regional Transit to provide transportation services for the over 1100 service line and tree crews – brought into to help with the power restoration in NW Arkansas. Additionally, Ozark Regional Transit will resume limited routes beginning today, Friday, January 30, 2009. The City road crews are working with Ozark Regional Transit to ensure that bus routes are reviewed and prioritized so that routes may resume fully.
  • The City has ensured that all water/sewer operations are maintained, and water safety is of paramount importance. At this time all city water and sewer services are operating fully without compromise.
  • The City has established multiple drop off sites for citizens, utility companies, and tree services to dispose of storm yard waste and tree debris. These sites are located at; City of Fayetteville Noland Wastewater Treatment Plant located at 1400 North Fox Hunter Rd. (individuals must offload their own material; there is no offload capability on site. The second drop off location is the West Side Wastewater Treatment Plan located at 5 South 54th Avenue, Fayetteville AR. Please enter on the gravel drive to the west of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, and again individuals must offload their own materials. A third site is located at the Water and Sewer Operations Center located at 2435 South Industrial Drive, Fayetteville, AR Please enter to the east of the Operations center fenced area; again individuals must offload their own materials. Additionally, citizens may leave broken limbs, and downed trees that have been cut up and placed at curbside and the City’s Solid Waste and Transportation division will provide pick-up services over the coming months to remove the debris from the curbside.
  • Solid Waste Trash services will resume Monday, February, 2nd and excess bags will be taken (without requiring additional trash tags). This service will be provide for the week of February 2nd, and customers will not incur any additional charges for this service.
  • The Mayor has declared the City of Fayetteville as a State of Emergency, and by doing so, the requirement for tree services to have a certification permit has been temporarily waived, so that citizens may contract with services working in the area to provide clean up on their private property. A list of currently approved tree service providers is listed on the City’s website.

Citizens Helping Others

The compassion and generosity of the people in our community is never more evident than when facing our collective difficulties. Here are some general guidelines on helping others after an emergency or weather disaster.

Financial contributions to the Red Cross are the best kind of donation to make. Providing a financial contribution to a voluntary organization is often the most needed and the most efficient way of helping those impacted by any disaster. Cash donations allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts, obtain goods and services locally, and provide direct financial assistance to disaster survivors to meet their own needs. When the public supports these voluntary organizations with financial contributions, it helps ensure a steady flow of important services to the people in need after a disaster.

Confirm what is needed before taking action! The most effective way the public can assist disaster relief organizations is with cash donations or in-kind goods or services that are specifically requested or needed. Unsolicited donated goods can require helping agencies to redirect valuable resources away from providing services to meet immediate needs.

Volunteer with a recognized voluntary organization involved in disaster response and recovery prior to the next disaster event. If you want to do disaster work, volunteer with an organization and be trained before the next event. This will put you in a much better position to find meaningful volunteer opportunities following a disaster. There are many organizations and faith groups within our community that have active disaster programs and need volunteers. These groups offer a wide range of services following a disaster, providing emergency food and shelter, clean-up assistance, emotional and spiritual care, casework, pet care, and home repair and rebuilding.

Community and Neighborhood Plans

A prepared community can be better equipped to stabilize and recover during those first critical hours following a disaster. It can also allow emergency responders to focus on the most devastated areas. Finding that the City had no plan in place for dealing with such weather-related emergencies, I want to establish a volunteer-driven program that will help Fayetteville neighborhoods develop their own disaster plans and help themselves during future events.

After a major disaster, we want the city’s neighborhoods to know what to do. My program will be designed to empower Neighborhood Associations to work with city employees and non-profit groups to develop truly community-based emergency response plans that are tailored to their unique needs. This project will be applicable to entire wards, neighborhoods, or residential communities such as condominium and apartment complexes.

Our Community Disaster Plan will include an Emergency Preparedness Committee to coordinate neighborhood disaster preparedness efforts. Other key elements include identifying resources such as recreation centers, congregations, and neighborhood associations that can help support implementation of the plan, and outlining how residents can work together to improve their capacity to provide shelter for at least 72-hours post disaster.

Working together and helping each other, we will meet the immediate challenge, and we will be even better prepared in the future.