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November 1, 2012

Re:      Update on Hurricane Sandy Recovery

Dear Mayor:

We just want to remind you that general access to emergency contact information, intended for the use of responsible parties, can result in redundant and distracting phone calls that can delay a utility’s ability to meet emergent need.

Karen Alexander, President and CEO of the New Jersey Utilities Association, has asked Mayors and their Emergency Management teams to consider that, “With so many people affected by the hurricane, the utilities have to triage their response and look to local officials to work in partnership with them to address the most dire emergencies. Communication channels between the utilities and local officials that are not reserved for this purpose can have the unintended but nonetheless adverse consequence of delaying the utility’s response to issues that are true emergencies. We ask your assistance in helping us respond effectively to the most urgent circumstances by maintaining these communication channels for their intended purpose of giving you more direct and prompt access.   We know that these are extremely difficult times for many communities and are doing everything possible to address these extraordinary circumstances.  We need and very much appreciate your cooperation.”

League President, Mayor Art Ondish, adds, "We understand how frustrating this process of restoration is but we will get through it working together and being patient. I can assure you all efforts are being made by the Governor and his Administration, as well as County and Local agencies. An effective partnership between the utilities and local leaders depends on open lines of communication. Please respect the chain of command and use your discretion in order to maintain communication between yourself, your first responders and all emergency service providers."

Second, we want to salute all the First Responders for their dedication and bravery during and in response to Sandy. We commend Governor Christie and President Obama for their work. And we thank all of you, doing your best to cope with your citizens’ problems and concerns.

For a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama’s major disaster declaration issued for New Jersey, access http://www.fema.gov/news-release/federal-aid-programs-state-new-jersey-disaster-recovery-2 .  For the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) news release, go to http://www.fema.gov/disaster/4086

Please see the Centers for Disease Control’s page on clean-up safety at
http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup/facts.asp

Please remind your citizens:

  • Stay away from damaged buildings or structures until they have been examined and certified as safe by a building inspector or other government authority. You may want to wait to return to buildings during daylight hours, when it is easier to avoid hazards, particularly if the electricity is off and you have no lights.
  • Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises that signal that the structure may fall or if you smell gas or suspect a leak. If you smell gas, notify emergency authorities and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so.
  • Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.

Third, for help and information from the State, we want to direct you to the Office of Emergency Management’s (OEM) “Hurricane Sandy” page at http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/programs/sandy_recovery.html. You can also link to OEM’s resource page for Local Officials at http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/plan/local-officials.html

NJ DEPs Hurricane Sandy Page includes precautionary wastewater measures, how municipalities can apply for emergency land use permits, when to boil their water, and much more at http://www.nj.gov/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/ And if you or your residents need to report an environmental incident impacting the state, please call DEP's 24-Hour Hotline: 1-877-WARN-DEP (1-877-927-6337). Boil water advisories are listed at http://www.nj.gov/dep/special/hurricane-sandy/boil_water.htm

To help New Jersey residents as they cleanup their homes and businesses after Hurricane Sandy, the Department of Health today is making public health experts available through the state's 2-1-1 system to answer questions about food and water safety and mold removal. You can access more information at http://www.state.nj.us/health/news/2012/approved/20121101a.html

New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Richard E. Constable, III has issued a warning to residents regarding potential fire safety dangers as a result of the effects of Hurricane Sandy. That can be found at http://www.state.nj.us/dca/news/news/2012/20121029.html

Also, the Division of Local Government Services issued Local Finance Notice 2012-12 advising on emergency appropriations related to the emergency response to Hurricane Sandy and the funding for long-term recovery.  The LFN can be accessed at
http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dlgs/lfns/12/2012-22.pdf

We will do our best to keep you posted on further developments.

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director 

 

 

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