Preparation for is paramount for Washington Township’s residents, according to Mayor Ken Short.
“Residents need to remember to charge all their electronics, and be prepared to be without power for three, maybe four days,” Short said. “Make sure (you) fill cars with gas, your grills with propane for use if needed and so on.”
Short said, specific to Washington Township, he’s most concerned about wires and trees being down, as well as flooding in certain areas of town, like West Mill Road, and the intersection of Bartley and Naughright Roads.
“People should be ready to go if it comes to that,” Short said. “Have everything charged, don’t forget medications if you rely on those and just be fully prepared for anything.”
As mayor, Short can authorize any funding necessary in the event of a disaster to purchase equipment or bring in personnel for emergency services.
Short can urge the idea of an evacuation, if needed, but cannot make the call for an emergency evacuation. That decision comes from the Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Charlie Davidson.
Members of the OEM will set up headquarters at the Washington Township Police Station on Sunday to coordinate emergency services if necessary and make decisions on equipment and evacuation, if it comes to that.
Local law enforcement will have two extra patrol officers working Sunday, in addition to an extra communications officer and a special officer to help cover any emergencies throughout the 45 square mile territory of Washington Township, according to police Lt. Mark Niemynski.
"We've got guys on call, and all the equipment–chippers, chainsaws–is ready to go," said Department of Public Works Superintendent Scott Frech.
“As a town, I think we’ll be prepared as anyone,” Short said.
For emergency purposes, these are the phone numbers you should have handy on Sunday:
The Washington Township Police Department can be reached at 908-876-3232, and for emergencies, call 911.
To report a power outage to Jersey Central Power & Light, call 1-888-544-4877.
To report a gas leak or outage to Elizabethtown Gas, call 1-800-492-4009.
For an in-depth look at what you need to be prepared for Hurricane Irene, go to the Washington Township Police Department's website by clicking this link.