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Mercer County Residents Urged to 'Shelter in Place'

With firefighters and other emergency personnel under orders to cease rescue operations no matter what when sustained winds exceed 50 mph, county officials are stressing the importance of residents staying indoors and out of harm's way.

With Hurricane Sandy bearing down on New Jersey, Mercer County officials on Sunday (Oct. 28) again stressed to residents the importance of staying off the roads and “sheltering in place” in their homes.

“There is no doubt about it - this is a dangerous storm,” Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said. “Forecasts show this storm could rival [Hurricane] Irene in terms of flooding and degree of damage, and we all need to expect the worst as we all hope for the best.”

While Mercer County Community College in West Windsor Township and Joyce Kilmer Elementary School in Trenton will be utilized as emergency shelters, if needed, Hughes said that no one should go to either location – or to any local, county or state facility – unless specifically directed to do so by emergency officials. Neither location is open yet as a shelter.

Hughes said loss of power is not a reason to seek shelter. “We are not experiencing extreme temperatures as we saw in the days following [Hurricane] Irene, where temperatures climbed into the 90s. You will be safer by staying put, hunkering down and riding out the storm at home,” he said.

But he noted that residents should immediately call 911 if they are in distress.

Local fire officials underscored the importance of staying home and not putting yourselves – and others – at risk by venturing unnecessarily into the elements by pointing out that no firefighters or other emergency responders will be out in the storm if sustained winds exceed 50 mph.

The state has ordered that all emergency personnel immediately return to the safety of their stations – even if they are in the midst of trying to rescue someone – as soon as the sustained wind level remains above 50 mph, officials said.

In Lawrence Township, a municipal state of emergency has been declared that limits travel in the township to authorized vehicles and essential personnel like police officers, firefighters and ambulance staff  

Officials also warned that prolonged power outages are possible and reminded residents that any downed power line should be assumed to be a “live” or electrified wire.

A continuously-updated list of government, school and business closures and cancelations can be found here on Patch.

With the various senior centers closed throughout the county because of the storm, those who participate in Mercer County’s nutrition program for senior citizens are being told to consume their “blizzard boxes” – meals provided a few weeks ago in anticipation of winter storms. Blizzard boxes contain non-perishables such as tuna and crackers.

 

Previous Mercer County-Specific Hurricane Sandy Coverage:

  • Oct. 28: “Mercer County Braces for Storm”
  • Oct. 28: “No Unauthorized Travel Allowed After 6 Tonight as Lawrence Township Declares State of Emergency”
  • Oct. 28: “
  • Oct. 27: “Lawrence Township Braces for Hurricane Sandy”
  • Oct. 27: “Princeton Prepares for Hurricane Sandy”
  • Oct. 27: “'Limited' State of Emergency Declared in Mercer County”
  • Oct. 27: “Area Municipalities Prepare For Sandy
  • Oct. 26: “Mercer County Mobilizes Resources in Advance of Sandy”
  • Oct. 26: “County Executive Urges Residents to Prepare for Sandy”

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