In the past week, we’ve been hit by two heavy rainstorms. This is following up on another heavy rainstorm in mid-December. As most Richmond residents are aware now, the heavy rains tends to soak upper branches, which fall and damage power lines, buildings, and block roads. However, there are a couple ways where the local government is working to help.
First, the Department of Public Works is working during each storm to keep the roads clear. During the snow storms, they work plow routes to remove snow and sand the roads. The plow routes are prioritized, so they may initially bypass some side streets in heavy snowfalls, but they’ll circle back to clear the road. They ask that people refrain from parking on the street during snowfalls, since that prevents the plows from being able to clear the road.
Even if there isn’t snow, a heavy rainfall can bring down trees and power lines into the road. If you come across road blockages, the best point of contact is the Richmond Police Department. During storms, the Department of Public Works folks are driving the streets, working to clear fallen trees, so they rely on the dispatcher from the Police Department to help coordinate and triage calls. For medical emergencies and fire, you should still start with 911, but the non-emergency line for the Police Department is (401) 539-8289 for things like blocked roads.
After the storm, if you have any property damage, there are ways the state and federal government can help. The state of Rhode Island collects data from each major storm to put together requests for federal aid, so you should report any property damage to the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency website.
Of course, submitting data doesn’t repair a broken roof, but it’s the first step. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency site also has links to request the grants they’re able to get based on their data. If you’ve sustained damage to your home or business, you should check with that site for opportunities to get help in funding repairs. There are also home repair grants or other opportunities from time to time that can help to offset your repair costs, so it may be worth checking in with Town Hall at (401) 539-9000 or with the Human Services director to see what other grant opportunities may be able to help restore your house.
One of the best ways to keep up with data calls and opportunities for home repair grants is the Notify Me system used by the Richmond Town Hall. You can sign up at the Notify Me website, and by signing up for News Flash, you can be alerted when there are opportunities for help. The Richmond Government Facebook site is another good way to keep up with storm information and closed roads.
-- Chris Kona