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Editorial: Got power? Working together during a crisis

We’ve all had a tough week.

If you live in Darien, or anywhere in Fairfield Country, or almost anywhere in the tri-state area, the hurricane affected you.

Some in town lost their homes, some suffered extensive damage due to trees or flooding.

But probably one of the most far-reaching and common problems for everyone was lack of power, and for one of the longest stretches most of us can remember.

Throughout the process, town officials, staff and emergency responders, many of whom don’t have power themselves, worked around the clock to assess town conditions, priortize safety, and work toward restoration.

Both Gov. Dan Malloy and First Selectman Jayme Stevenson warned before the storm that outages due to Hurricane Sandy would be signficant.

Not having power stinks. We get it.

The entire staff of The Darien Times lost power personally, as did the newspapers’ office, for most, if not all, of last week.

It is easy to have tempers and frustration run high as day after day you wake to a cold, dark home. It is tempting to lash out at town officials like Ms. Stevenson.

Tempting, but not fair — though many Darien residents have done just that. Within social media and email, throughout this process, some town officials have been attacked, and some viciously so, for not getting power back fast enough.

Town officials are not part of Connecticut Light & Power’s line crews. They are not hanging wires and replacing light poles, though surely at this point they wish they could. They are in communication with the utility company, and coordinating progress.

Circulating rumors via email and social media to flame tensions and hostility only makes a bad situation worse.

Towns like New Canaan, Weston and Wilton got power restored much slower than Darien did, and much of Fairfield County was in the same outage boat. Is it that all of the town officials in this area are incompetent? Or could it be that this storm was an especially tough one, as was repeatedly predicted?

If you’re going to question process, why not question why CL&P has not made changes to avoid these types of outages, such as further investigation of burying power lines, more tree trimming to minimize storm damage or other options so that its customers do not face another extensive power outages.

Darien should be grateful to its public servants, town employees and emergency responders for dedicating their time to the town over the last week, leaving their own families behind that were experiencing the same thing we all were. Instead, many chose to send hostile emails calling for town officials’ resignations, accusing them of being incompetent, and trashing them on Twitter.

Fairfield County was not the only area struck by Sandy. Towns on the Jersey Shore were decimated. Staten Island also lost a bulk of its shoreline homes and many people drowned.
Sandy was a storm like most of us have never seen — and hope to never see again.

But should Darien be in the dark again, let more events like the Darien Library’s community potluck, where Darien neighbors fed and comforted each other, set the tone for how the community comes together, instead of ripping each other apart, during a crisis.

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