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UPDATE: Massive Brush Fire Rages In Berkeley,…

Storm Prep Strides Being Made, Mayor Says

Meetings, communication efforts filled last four months since Hurricane Sandy.

Utility poles are still cracked and electric wires are still frayed in parts of Washington Township, four months after Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey.

Plenty of action has taken place in the time since, however, to prepare for future natural disasters which, according to Mayor Ken Short, will happen again.

“[A similar storm] will happen again, hopefully we’re better prepared,” Short said at a recent Township Committee meeting.

Short read through a list of meetings and upgrades that have taken place in the past four months, including:

  • Three meetings with electric provider Jersey Central Power & Light
  • One meeting with the Board of Public Utilities
  • One meeting with regional mayors
  • One meeting with residents
  • Continued tree-trimming by JCP&L
  • Letters sent to town electricians and plumbers
  • Letters to local gyms and fitness centers for potential shower facility use
  • CERT training shelter management (scheduled for March 2013)
  • Cell tower erected behind Washington Township Police Department
  • Ongoing communication changes with JCP&L
  • JCP&L grid, street maps, circuit maps submitted to township
  • Radios installed for police and Department of Public Works to communicate
  • “Sandwich Boards” being built by DPW (14 total)
  • Generators for municipal building and library researched (budget or grant funded)
  • Critical location list created
  • Critical needs list created (ongoing)

Short met with a group of the town's department heads and office of emergency officials where it was made known the biggest issue during Sandy and her aftermath was the lack of communication.

The township's fire department also gave a presentation to the township committee in December showing what workload was taken on by the three companies' volunteers.

Do you think this is enough? What else should be done going forward?

Joanne February 27, 2013 at 09:25 AM
Is that new cell tower up and running? (meaning are they finished?)I still get dropped called with verizon wireless What is a "sandwich board"? besides the utility pole fixing ( I saw them out there yesterday on Schooleys MTN rd), I have to say the tree damage is mighty ugly to see on a daily basis and a terrible reminder of that storm, whether trees leaning, broken off , dangling on wires, and debris all over, is there going to be some effort to clean that mess up, whether peoples personal property, township land, etc....?
Bruce Clark February 27, 2013 at 12:04 PM
Hi Joanne, one of the resident suggestions for improved communications that was made at the Mayor's post-Sandy feedback session back in January was to set up information stations around town where updates of key information (such as road closures, JCP&L restoration efforts, shelter and warming station locations...) could be displayed. A "sandwich board" is a low-tech but effective means of posting information (example: http://www.isupplyonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/sandwich-board-metal.jpg), which will be updated by police patrol units or public works staff during the course of the day. Bruce Clark, Washington Township Office of Emergency Management
PD73 February 27, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Still so many pieces of trees on the curbs in and around Parker Acres. I realize the town initially said they would only pick up town trees but where are residents supposed to put this debris? These piles are only encouraging illegal dumping and with this much dead wood all over, I see a serious fire hazard come summer.
Angelo February 27, 2013 at 02:37 PM
4G, full bars, from about 2 weeks ago....
Claire February 27, 2013 at 04:10 PM
when I called the town last fall, I was told it was my responsibility. I had to hire/pay someone to cart it away.
Joanne February 27, 2013 at 09:11 PM
Bruce, thanks for your reply, I also have to add I had my big chuckle for the day! ;-) I would think those signs would blow to China in another big storm! maybe one of those heavy ones you have to haul with a trailer that light up may not blow away or over, but that sandwich board is pretty funny.....I am still chuckling, I am sorry. Claire is right on, its the homeowners responsibility, and could be held liable if they don't clean it up in due time too.
mojopin12 February 28, 2013 at 03:08 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBli1snpReY
Nolan February 28, 2013 at 04:04 AM
So 'the biggest issue during Sandy and her aftermath was the lack of communication." What a surprise! Morris County dispatch crashed during Sandy and Irene. The town purchases radios so the police can communicate with DPW. That's because MC Dispatch can't/won't talk to DPW. In addition, try to call someone at the Police Department during an emergency - good luck! What BS - Ken crowed about the massive savings produced by moving dispatch to the County, and now no one knows what's going on. I suspect that no one knew what was going on then. And where are the savings? Last year they made preliminary budget figures available. This year - nothing.
Bruce Clark February 28, 2013 at 12:28 PM
Good point, Joanne. I should have added to my explanation that the sandwich boards are tethered to the ground to prevent them from ending up in Kansas or Beijing. The solar-powered electronic sign board that shuttled between the East Mill Squad building and Springtown intersection also proved very useful during Sandy, and we are in the process of making arrangements to have more than one for next time.
Joanne February 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM
thank you for clearing that up a little Bruce, and I like the bigger variety, hopefully you can acquire more.
Claire February 28, 2013 at 01:02 PM
Bruce, it would also be helpful to know ahead of time exactly where the info boards will be posted.
Bruce Clark February 28, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Yes, we will definitely get the word out before the next weather emergency hits us. We are thinking that high visibility/well-frequented locations around town like the SM General Store, library, police headquarters and fire houses are good sites for information stations. Welcome any additional thoughts the community might have on other good locations.

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