FREEHOLD, NJ — Do you know your coastal evacuation zone? Before a weather emergency occurs, Monmouth County officials are urging residents to learn their zone, particularly if they live in communities like Belmar and Lake Como, which sit in the most vulnerable areas for storm surge.
During National Preparedness Month, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office is pushing the importance of the county’s Know Your Zone program as New Jersey enters the peak of hurricane season — and in light of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which recently pounded the southeastern portion of the country, as well as upon the five-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the Jersey Shore in 2012.
The first of its kind in New Jersey, the Know Your Zone program allows the county’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to direct any evacuation instructions to those at the greatest risk of experiencing storm surge during major coastal storms.
“This information is particularly vital during hurricane season,” said Michael Oppegaard, Monmouth County OEM coordinator. “The plan identifies specific coastal evacuation zones (A, B, C and D), which helps emergency management officials target evacuation orders to those areas that are at the most risk, based upon threat, strength, direction and forecasted storm surge.”
The four distinct zones — A, B, C and D — will allow for a clearer and more decisive messaging when evacuations are needed. As the public becomes aware of which zone they are in, evacuation messaging will be directed toward a specific zone.
Since the program is directly connected to Monmouth County’s Coastal Evacuation Plan, some 70 Know Your Zone signs are being placed alongside Coastal Evacuation Route signs in coastal communities throughout Monmouth County, including the Belmar/Lake Como area.
“Monmouth County leads the way in storm preparedness, and I’m pleased to see the interest and participation in such a vital program to our coastal communities,” said Freeholder Serena DiMaso. “As liaison to OEM, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have this information prior to a storm.”
Since the Know Your Zone program launched in September 2016, nearly 6,500 people have visited the site to learn in which zone they are located. For more information about your zone, visit www.mcsonj.org/knowyourzone.
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