In East Windsor Township where Hurricane Sandy clean-up is well underway and residents have power restored, we can reflect on the challenges and inconveniences of this extraordinary experience. We also can count our blessings here in East Windsor Township, where we had no serious injuries or loss of life, and all of us have our homes and personal belongings basically intact. Even with impaired roadways and few functioning traffic signals, the Township had only one minor hurricane-related automobile accident.
Many mayors and their residents throughout our great Garden State will confront the losses and costs, personal struggles and rebuilding challenges for months and years to come. We encourage everyone to continue their generosity by assisting our fellow New Jersey citizens in regions which were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
Every New Jersey mayor surely thanks the countless residents, volunteers, staff, religious and civic organizations, businesses, the State of New Jersey and the Gov. Christie administration, FEMA, and countless others for their unprecedented response to an unprecedented storm that tested, and continues to test, our patience and resolve.
All of us undoubtedly experienced many localized individual, business and organization acts of generosity and kindness to our residents and our community.
We recognize the tremendous leadership of our Municipal Emergency Management teams, and value the great support and assistance of our tremendous fire and rescue first responders, our dedicated police, our remarkable public works personnel, and our other valuable staff.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) work crews from around the country, in our township from the California, Montana and Wisconsin Wildland Firefighters, were terrific in assisting the Township with the enormous clean-up tasks. FEMA funding will be critical to all municipal officials in the clean-up and rebuilding.
It has been truly wonderful to see so many neighbors helping one another and coming together to overcome this difficult time. Neighbors throughout communities watched out for their neighbors, shared information and resources.
Communications are a key element of any urgent situation. In East Windsor, we provided regular emailed E-News Alerts, also posted on the website and provided to media. East Windsor uses the County Reverse 9-1-1 System which has a data base of home phone numbers for emergency communications. As a result of suggestions post-Irene, the system enables registration of cell phone numbers.
Mayors were in communications with our utility company and the Governor’s office throughout the events. While we all recognize that Hurricane Sandy wrought huge and statewide damage, nevertheless, we will be following up to discuss possible improvements, to enhance communications to provide reasonable time lines and action plans including for priority sites to Mayors. In cooperation, we can all learn and maybe also reduce the stress and uncertainty of officials and residents.
The phenomenal partnerships among government at all levels and the terrific community spirit, resilience and working together helped us to pull through Hurricane Sandy and will sustain us in the tremendous challenges which lie ahead.