Frenchtown Office of Emergency Management Director Brad Myhre called a meeting this afternoon to review the town’s emergency response plan in advance of Hurricane Sandy. Representatives of police, fire, CERT, Borough Council, Shade Tree Commission, Sewer Utility and DPW were present.
After reporting on each “department’s” preparations, the group put together a written alert that was delivered to each door in town this afternoon. It contains important information about those preparations and contact information. At the risk of repeating some of that information:
- Temporary shelter, if necessary, will be at Borough Hall. Hunterdon County OEM will establish a permanent shelter if it is required and will transport residents to that shelter if it becomes necessary. There is no generator at Borough Hall, so please bring a blanket and warm clothing.
- Persons in need, meaning those who require electricity to run medical equipment or require medication, should call the OEM Command Center hotline: 908-996-2341. If power is lost and basements begin to fill with water, the Fire Company will again be going through town to help pump them out. To get your basement on the list, call the Command Center hotline.
- We will try to keep everyone informed via the Frenchtown webpage, www.frenchtownboro.com, and with emails like this one, and with posts on the Frenchtown Facebook Group (thanks to Bob Haver). If I’m able, I’ll also post updates on Twitter. Follow me @frenchtownmayor. (The Hunterdon County Democrat intends to tweets about events around the county.) If power and telephone service is lost in Frenchtown, we will post alerts at Borough Hall, police headquarters, the fire house and at the CERT bus, which will be at stationed at the bridge on Front Street.
- Dave Cahill of River Net Computers is trying to set up a camera on the OEM bus so residents can keep watch on the storm’s impact on the Delaware River and wherever else the bus goes.
- It wasn’t an easy decision, but the group agreed that Trick and Treat be cancelled at this time. If it is possible, we will reschedule.
- I’ve learned that Frenchtown School – and presumably the high school as well – have cancelled classes tomorrow. No decision has been made yet about Tuesday, I’m told.
- In a telephone conference with New Jersey mayors at 4 p.m. Don Lynch, president of JCP+L reiterated that Sandy appears to be on course to hit the state full on. If it does, JCP+L is warning customers that power could be out for 7-10 days after winds die down. The JCP+L outage hotline is 888-544-4877. Unfortunately, the plan is to address outages in the largest customer areas first, working from the inside out, as Lynch put it. Also, substations that are out will be brought on line before any individual problems (trees bringing down wires) are dealt with. There will be daily updates with JCP+L at 4 p.m., we’re told, and I’ll pass on what I learn. JCP+L will provide ice and water at various locations throughout the state, we’re told. Our emergency responders will pick up those resources and bring them into town for our residents since the roads will be off-limits to citizens.
Please take the warnings seriously. As everyone seems to remind us, it’s better to plan for the worst and face a smaller emergency than to plan for something small and be unprepared.