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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?

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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