Mercer County is urging its residents to be prepared for severe weather and heavy rains in the coming days as Hurricane Sandy is predicted to make landfall on the Atlantic Coastline.
Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes is asking all municipalities and local public agencies to keep careful records of damages and expenses so that the county could possibly get reimbursement from federal agencies if it sustains high degrees of damage.
Mercer County was successful in obtaining $1.2 million in reimbursements following the December 2010 blizzard.
Most recent forecast models show that Sandy will bring significant rainfall to the region that could lead to localized flooding of streets and streams, flooding of basements and, depending on the location of the storm, a rise in the level of the Delaware River.
“I want our residents to take this storm seriously and be as prepared as possible,” Hughes said. “The time to prepare is now. The storm is coming, and even if it is reduced to tropical storm status, it will bring heavy winds and rain. You can be of most help to our emergency teams and road crews if you prepare now and travel only if absolutely necessary.”
Hughes asks residents to “shelter in place,” which means to stay in your residence unless it is an emergency.
The American Red Cross of Central New Jersey is responsible for regional shelters in the area, and people with that need should call 609-951-8550 or go to www.njredcross.org.
Mercer County Office of Emergency Management is working with local municipal OEMs and the N.J. State Police Office of Emergency Management to ready what resources may be needed.
Mercer County Park Commission, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, Human Services, Communications, Buildings and Grounds, Mercer County Improvement Authority, the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, and other first responders are in place.
As Hughes encourages families to prepare for this storm, county offices and facilities are also making necessary preparations.
At Trenton-Mercer Airport, administrators are monitoring the weather and sending advisories to TTN tenants requesting that they ensure all materials and objects are secured, including aircraft.
“Although we hope to keep the airport operational, if sustained winds reach 58 mph, we will be required to close the control tower,” Hughes said. In case of closure, aircraft would be diverted to other regional airports.
The county's Highway Department is inspecting its equipment to ensure everything is functioning properly and will be ready for emergency calls that would typically include inspecting and cleaning storm drain covers, sweeping and cleaning roads in flood-prone areas, making sure trucks are pre-loaded with barrels, and having arrow boards, light towers, pumps and generators ready.
The county's Shade Tree Division expects to be busy round the clock over the weekend and into next week, and has geared up.
If power should go out at the county’s two fuel stations, it has a tanker truck that can supply county work trucks and generators with an additional 1,000 gallons of fuel.
Mercer County Park Commission is making available to local fire departments 13 row boats in case areas prone to flooding require emergency evacuation, and Mercer County Transportation Resources to Aid the Disadvantaged and Elderly (TRADE) buses have been able to accommodate the scheduling changes to several dialysis patients who depend on TRADE rides to health centers.
The Mercer County Office of Emergency Management will participate in monitoring and communicating the tracking and assessment of Sandy over the next several days, Hughes said. In addition, local emergency management volunteer groups such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) have been notified to be poised to respond.
CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.
Hughes added that Mercer County is unique in that it typically takes a one-two punch during tropical storms if the Delaware River floods.
“As coastal areas are deep in their cleanup days after these weather events, we often have our eye on the rising water levels of the Delaware River, which can extend Mercer County’s response during an emergency.”
Mercer County’s OEM has also joined the New Jersey OEM in its awareness campaign that asks residents to prepare for unexpected emergencies by getting a kit, making a plan, and staying informed.
Below is a list of quick tips for emergency preparedness.
“Get a Kit” of Emergency Supplies for Your Home
- Three days’ supply of canned, non-perishable, ready-to-eat FOOD
- Three days’ supply of WATER (a total of three gallons per family member)
- Battery-operated RADIO and extra batteries
- FLASHLIGHT and extra batteries
- One week’s prescription MEDICATIONS
- FIRST AID KIT
- Personal TOILETRIES
- Non-electric CAN OPENER and UTENSILS
- SPECIAL NEEDS items: INFANT care items; items for ELDERLY family members; items for relatives with DISABILITIES
- CASH or TRAVELERS CHECKS
- Store important DOCUMENTS in a waterproof, safe location
In Case You Need to Evacuate
- Keep your vehicle’s gas level at a minimum of half a tank
- Every family member must carry contact information for all phone numbers at work, school, etc. for every family member, and the name and number of a relative who lives out-of-state to call in case your family gets separated.
“Make a Plan” for Yourself, Your Family or Your Business
- Meet with the members of your household or office
- Talk about the types of disasters that are most likely to happen in your area
- Take time to explain the dangers of emergency incidents to children
- Discuss why everyone needs to prepare for a disaster
- Address any special needs concerns in the event of an emergency
- Build an emergency contact phone list
- Make provisions for pets
- Remember to establish and share emergency incident responsibilities
- Emphasize that teamwork and staying calm are key
For more information regarding emergency preparedness, log on to: http://www.ready.nj.gov/plan/kit-plan.html. For more information regarding the CERT program, log on to: http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/emb_cert.html or call 609-963-6900 extension 6964.
Note: The above information was provided by the Mercer County administration.