NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Governor Chris Christie today declared a state of emergency throughout New Jersey in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. Severe weather conditions are expected to include rain, high winds, rain, and flooding, and the storm’s potential to threaten the public’s health and safety.
"As we move towards what is an increasingly likelihood of seeing Sandy make landfall in New Jersey, I am urging all New Jerseyans to take every possible and reasonable precaution to ready themselves for the storm’s potential impact. That means having an emergency action plan for their families and other loved ones who may require assistance, and avoiding unnecessary risks in the severe weather, including staying off of the roads,” said Governor Christie. “At the state level, we are taking immediate steps to prepare for the storm’s impact and ensure that state, local and county governments have the tools they need to manage and respond in a coordinated way. With this, government at every level can respond more effectively to conditions on the ground, activate emergency operations plans, and ensure that resources are being marshaled to assist and protect the public through this storm."
By declaring a state of emergency, the State Emergency Operations Plan is activated, which expands the powers of the New Jersey State Police.
Hurricane Sandy is projected to make landfall on Monday or Tuesday in the northeast region, making New Jersey a primary location for threatening weather.
Currently with 80 m.p.h. winds moving at 6 m.p.h., Hurricane Sandy is a category one hurricane off the east coast of Florida. According to The Weather Channel’s website, the storm is considered, “a hybrid with tropical characteristics,” as it continues its unsteady and dangerous path.
With the storm approaching rapidly, local towns are taking action to prepare.
Mary Goepfert, MPA, APR, CPM in External Affairs at the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to keep up with local emergency systems such as NJ Alert (a free, voluntary and confidential emergency alerting system), CMAS (the Community Mobile Alert System that is nationwide), and NOAA Weather Radio (stations nationwide broadcasting continuous weather information). TheAlternativePress.com will also offer coverage of the storm on an ongoing basis.
Goepfert says social and traditional media are also ways to monitor the impending weather.
The Madison Police Department is asking residents to take a couple of precautionary steps.
“With the impending storm, residents are asked to clear any blocked storm drains they may have near their home.”
Jeffrey S. Paul, Director of the Office of Emergency Management in Morris County says that he is ready.
“I am pleased to say that we are well prepared and very busy,” they said, “We encourage you to share information with your community and engage your residents and business partners to minimize the impact to your individual communities.”
Morris Storm Emergency Management also says that preparedness activities should be encouraged and family emergency plans should be practiced. Be prepared to evacuate if necessary.
Doug Marvin, Administrator at the Borough of New Providence, advises that citizens should be sure to charge their mobile devices completely.
“Residents are also reminded to register for Code Red through the Borough’s homepage so they can receive telephone alerts,” according to Marvin.
In the event that extra measures should be taken, Marvin says they are ready.
“There is a possibility for charging stations,” he said, “and police are ready with generators.”
Doug Lynch from A-1 Basements in Scotch Plains says prevention is pertinent.
“Make sure your sump pump is working,” he said, “If your basement has taken on water in the past, it will again.”
Household appliances and other loose ends should be tied up for safety.
“Unplug electrical devices that sit on the floor and place them in the house,” said Lynch.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there are a few things to listen for including: Hurricane/Tropical Storm Watch, Hurricane/Tropical Storm Warning, Short Term Watches and Warnings, Flood/Flash Flood Watch, and Flood/Flash Flood Warning. To learn what to do in each case, visit their website.
Danny Jovic, Allstate New Jersey spokesperson, says understanding your insurance coverage and being ready for possible dangers can serve as protection.
Protecting the family include: conducting a home inventory of posessions, developing an evacuation plan, removing damaged limbs outside, purchasing emergency materials and ensuring that you have all necessary protection needed.
Minimizing losses is also important according to Jovic. Reviewing home insurance policies, finding out what coverage you have, and gathering important documents are steps that should be taken.
Sherry Cronin, Executive Director of the Downtown Westfield Corporation, said that cancellations of Westfield’s annual downtown trick-or-treat, parade and costume contest could be posted at www.westfieldtoday.com as soon as early Sunday morning, if necessary.
“In the interest of public safety, we would make that call if we have to,” said Cronin. The events are scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., rain or shine. Cronin noted that in the 10 years the costume contest has taken place not once has it even rained, although last year’s parade was left off due to excessive snow on the ground.
Millburn residents can get up to date information from the township's Website, www.twp.millburn.nj.us/