Union County, NJ – With the impact of Superstorm Sandy still lingering almost three years later, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents to prepare ahead as the next winter storm season approaches. To stay up-to-date with current conditons, Cranford residents are encouraged to sign-up for Nixle alerts, www.nixle.com.

“Sandy was the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, and we are still feeling the effects of its devastating force,” said Freeholder Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh. “It was a powerful reminder that taking a few simple steps to prepare ahead can make all the difference when disaster strikes.”

Widespread power outages, blocked roads and fuel shortages complicated recovery efforts in the immediate aftermath of Sandy, which made landfall in New Jersey on Oct. 29, 2012.

Sign Up for E-News

Emergency experts recommend that every household and business be prepared to spend at least three days without power or access to local grocery stores and other services.

That includes keeping a first aid kit and a supply of non-perishable food and bottled water on hand. Flashlights and other emergency equipment should also be stored in an easily accessible area, and should be checked regularly to make sure they are working properly.

For vehicle owners, preparedness also includes responding to emergency guidance such as topping off gas tanks ahead of a storm and avoiding non-essential travel during recovery.

This September marks the 11th annual National Preparedness Month, part of the Ready public service announcement campaign. The Ready campaign aims to involve individuals and entire communities in emergency preparedness and resiliency efforts.

“By taking a few simple steps ahead of time, you can help ensure the safety of your household or business, and you help your community, too,” said Jalloh. “When more citizens are prepared, our emergency responders can focus their efforts on helping those who need an extra hand such as persons with disabilities or medical complications.”

The Freeholder Board is participating in National Preparedness Month by relaying information and messages from the Ready campaign. Basic steps include:

Identify helpful sources of information before, during and after an emergency. In addition to tuning in to radio, television and online media, sign up online for free emergency alerts in Union County at ucfirstalert.org. Union County’s website (ucnj.org) and social media are also updated on an emergency basis.

Make a plan for what to do in an emergency, including contact information for family and emergency services.

Build an emergency supply kit. For households with pets, carriers and other equipment should be kept handy in addition to a supply of pet food and water.

Get involved — the volunteer Union County Medical Reserve Corps includes residents from all walks of life who want to pitch in during and after a disaster. A wide variety of skills are welcome. For more information contact the Union County Coordinator, Ella Shaykevich, 908-518-5620 or mrc@ucnj.org.