OEM Day 3: Planning Put to the Test as Sandy Hits

Officials monitor developments and get ready to repair the damage.

In the Warren Township Police Departments lobby, a steady stream of voices and calls can be heard from within the department's dispatch center—fires reported, trees down, you name it.

Upstairs, in a quieter room, members of Warren's Local Emergency Coordinating Committee is meeting. Members of the Township Committee, police department, CERT and Rescue Squads, and OEM Coordinator Jane Asch are reviewing the latest information relayed from Somerset County OEM.

"We report up to them, and they report to the state OEM," Asch said. Information follows the other way, too: from the state to the county to Warren.

The committee has been meeting daily since Friday, following the progress of the storm and laying out plans for dealing with it.

As Sandy makes landfall Monday evening, eight members of the committee, working a 12-hour shift, are tallying power outages and road closures. They will be following the emergency calls sure to come in through the night as the storm worsens.

They're trying to get residents to stay indoors as the storm hit, preparing a warming center where residents without power can go and charge up electronic items, as well as make sure everything is available for a shelter, if one becomes necessary.

Much of the committee's work comes before and after the storm. They arranged for food to be delivered to the Rescue Squad building as police and volunteers with fire companies and the squad respond to the emergencies with no time put for rest.

After the storm, they'll be tracking the damage and efforts at restoring power outages, clearing roads, and getting the community back to work. In Warren, the biggest problem is sure to be restoring power, and Asch said the committee is in contact with company representatives almost constantly.

"We will stay in touch with them, and we will be reporting every day," Township Committeeman Gary DiNardo said.

Be sure to stay abreats of the news from the OEM and the committee by registering for the township's reverse 9-1-1 system.

Andrew Smart October 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM
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