Monday, March 14th, 2011

Members of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders and other county officials toured the flooded communities of Pequannock and Lincoln Park over the weekend and pledged to continue to provide whatever assistance and resources are in the county’s prevue to assist the flood victims.

The freeholders said Morris County Office of Emergency Management has had staff in the field since March 9, assisting in coordinating various activities across the jurisdictions. This includes coordinating the mutual-aid response to provide additional fire and rescue agencies to assist the impacted municipalities, and coordinating relief for the Pequannock and Lincoln Park rescue units with other teams from across the county.

Scott DiGiralomo, director of the county’s Department of Law and Public Safety, said the Morris OEM was able to secured five high water vehicles from the National Guard to maneuver through the flood waters, and has provided Variable Message Boards to Pequannock and Lincoln Park to ensure that both communities were able to relay emergency messages to their citizens and to motorists in the area.

Lincoln Park and Denville were provided with a sheltering trailer for animals by the county OEM, which allowed dislocated residents to have a safe and appropriately equipped animal friendly shelter for their pets while not overwhelming local shelters meant for people, DiGiralomo said.

He said Morris County’s HazMat staff secured floating oil tanks and supervised the cleanup of several product releases in both Pequannock and Lincoln Park. The Morris OEM has also coordinated with the Salvation Army two canteens for Pequannock to provide refreshments for residents who may not have access to food and water when as they return to their homes.

DiGiralomo said Morris County’s Reverse 9-1-1 system was heavily used by Lincoln Park, Pequannock, Denville and Parsippany with more than 62,000 calls made by the system to alert citizens of expected flooding and to provide evacuation notices.

The freeholders noted that under the county’s Open Space program, they have approved several rounds of funding to Pequannock to help the township in its efforts to buy out some homeowners along flood-prone areas of the Pompton River. County open space dollars have been used by Pequannock to fund the value of the land of 16 properties, with Pequannock using local and state contributions to fund the value of the residences.

The freeholders said the Morris County Department of Public Works is standing by, ready to provide equipment and manpower to assist in the cleanup. They said when the water levels recede far enough, county trucks and loaders will be sent in to help with the debris pickup and removal.

The freeholders also said Morris County Department of Human Services Disaster Response Counselors are on standby and are ready, if asked, to meet with individuals and families impacted by the flooding.