Township of Monroe

The Mayor's Column

In Times of Emergency, Monroe Township is Prepared for the Worst

October 11, 2017

By Mayor Gerald W. Tamburro

If watching the national news has convinced me of anything lately, it’s that I should count myself fortunate to live in Monroe.

Even though we’re in the midst of hurricane season, I’m still left speechless seeing the sheer number of storms sweeping through our country and into our neighboring nations, and the horrific trail of destruction left in their path.

With every passing hurricane, each presenting its own challenges, we are reminded that you can never be too prepared. 

As many of you are aware, not too long ago, we here in Monroe lived through two major storms: Hurricane Irene in 2011, which flooded well over 100 homes, followed by Superstorm Sandy in 2012 that left the township without power and impacted communications for nearly 10 days.

In the months and years since Irene and Sandy barreled through our community, we’ve been diligently working to strengthen our community disaster readiness and response.

Chief Michael Lloyd has led the Office of Emergency Management in those efforts which have included expanding our emergency shelters, increasing our communication platforms, and keeping our emergency responders well trained and equipped.  Monroe has also worked to identify and register vulnerable residents who, due to age or physical challenges, may require additional and specialized assistance in times of emergency.

Just this summer, we completed construction on our second full service backup generator, creating an auxiliary sheltering area at the Community Center, in addition to our primary emergency shelter located at the Monroe Township Senior Center. The generator projects were funded in part by a $284,000 Energy Allocation Initiative allocation under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program under FEMA. 

These facilities function as temporary shelters for those who find themselves displaced, will provide residents with charging stations for electronic devices, and act as a point of contact for distribution of other resources should the need arise.  Emergency provisions including cots, personal care kits and blankets are at the ready and a full service shelter can be functional in under two hours.

Following Irene, where the town was divided by flood waters and Sandy, where township residents experienced power outages of 7-10 days, it was determined that Monroe should establish large scale, emergency shelters in different geographical locations to accommodate residents during emergencies or evacuations. The senior center and community center offered the right locations but needed the backup, emergency generators to function fully during an emergency. These shelters combined can house over 1,000 residents during an evacuation and 500 in a post impact shelter. 

The Township has also expanded its emergency communication platforms to include Nixle text and email notifications and reverse dial phone service which enables the OEM to connect with nearly 20,000 households within seconds.  Additional outlets include our local access TV Channel 28, the Monroe Township website, and Facebook pages for the “Monroe Township Office of Emergency Management” and “The Township of Monroe”.  I encourage you to register for Nixle alerts by texting 08831 to 888777 and like us on Facebook to stay up to date in the event of an emergency from wherever you are. 

As for our emergency personnel, let me reassure you that the Township has gone to extensive measures to make sure you are all in safe and capable hands.  Aside from their own internal protocols, training and requirements, three fourths of Monroe’s EMS and fire department employees belong to the New Jersey Task Force for Disaster Preparedness.  That membership makes training in areas like search and recovery, hazmat chemical exposure, tactical safety and other mock disaster scenarios easily accessible to our staff.

Our police and Office of Emergency Management remain our eyes and our ears.  These hardworking men and women are constantly coordinating with state and county emergency officials, monitoring the forecast, and preparing for all impending or potential threats to the safety of our residents.

You can help us help you by preparing yourself for an emergency. Officials recommend every home have a Disaster Supply Kit in a water proof container. Each kit should contain enough food and water for 3 days plus medicines, batteries, flashlight, can opener, first aid kit, electronic chargers for cell phones and computers and emergency contact numbers for your loved ones.

On a final note, if you are living with any physical challenges, I strongly recommend you consider submitting a Special Needs Registration Form to the Township.  A copy can be found on our website at www.monroetwp.com under the “Alerts” section of our homepage or by calling a police department representative at 732-521-0222.  Print it out and return it to our Police Department at 3 Municipal Plaza Monroe, NJ 08831.  This will better enable our crews to respond to your specific needs, should an emergency situation present itself.

 

 

 

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