Seven police, fire and first aid squad heads met Thursday night in the to discuss how to approach the township's response to Hurricane Irene, a storm that is forecast to bring 60-mile-per-hour sustained winds and dump between 8 and 12 inches of rain on the state on Sunday.
The storm could down trees, cause weeklong power outages and bring winds of such intensity that police officers, firefighters and first aid squad members won’t be able to respond to calls during the height of the storm, Montville Police Lt. Rudy Appelmann, the township’s Office of Emergency Management coordinator, said during the meeting.
The National Weather Service said Thursday that Irene has the potential makings of a “100-year storm” for the region, Appelmann said. The storm is expected to affect the entire state and last for several hours.
“This is honestly probably something we’ve never been through,” he told the first-responders who were at the meeting.
He said residents should “plan on delays, plan on not having power for a while and, if you are in low-lying areas that are prone to flooding, expect flooding.”
At the meeting were John Osborne, Montville fire chief; John Wieworka, Towaco fire chief; Herb Eggers, Pine Brook fire chief; Joan Gnall, Montville First Aid Squad captain; David Peterson, Montville police lieutenant and Edward Rosellini, Montville police captain.
Appelmann said Montville might activate its Emergency Operations Center for the first time on Sunday morning, bringing the squad and department heads into one room to decide how best to use their resources and respond to calls. They discussed what channels of communication would be available, the possibility of setting up evacuation centers if necessary and what equipment and boats were available. They exchanged contact information and discussed how to keep track of resources so the town and departments can be reimbursed if funds are made available.
The Towaco Fire Department has a light rescue boat available, while Montville has an inflatable rescue boat, as well as three four-wheel-drive vehicles that can drive through several inches of water, the fire chiefs said.
“We’ll all work together,” Montville Fire Chief John Osborne said.
Areas of concern
A notice on Montville Township's municipal website Thursday morning outlined flood-prone areas in town and how residents should prepare.
It said common flooding areas include the Hatfield Creek region, including Sheffield, Lancaster, Manchester, Normandy, Walnut, Crescent, Parkway, Stiles, Bader, Barnett, River and Changebridge roads. Kramer, Riverside and Bloomfield Avenue also could see flooding, the notice said.
“Residents are advised to prepare for the arrival of the storm immediately,” it said. “At a minimum, essential items like water, non-perishable food, batteries, flashlights, battery operated radios and a vehicle filled with gasoline should be on hand or available. If you have a generator or pump, make sure it is fueled and in working order. Lastly, any lawn furniture or loose items should be secured as much as possible. Storm updates will be posted on this site as they become available.”
Montville also is directing residents to additional information available from the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Administration:
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