Thursday, October 1st, 2015
The Morris County Office of Emergency Management continues to keep a close eye on the path and storm track of Hurricane Joaquin which is currently a Category 3 Hurricane.
Joaquin will likely be upgraded to a Category 4 Hurricane as we move forward in the storm track process. Since we cannot wait for the final verdict, our preparedness planning processes remain in full motion.
As we continue our planning efforts, the Morris County Office of Emergency Management has elevated our operational status within the Emergency Operations Center.
Our focus remains on Sunday night and Monday. Keep in mind that the storm track continues to change and we are not locking into any specific model at this time since significant variability currently exists.
Some of the storm models reviewed this morning suggest that Hurricane Joaquin will make landfall South of the state Sunday night and Monday while other tracks suggest an East Coast landfall or an Out-to-Sea solution. The longer that Joaquin remains in the Bahamas area, the greater the likelihood that we could possibly see an Out-to-Sea solution.
Periods of rain will be likely Sunday night and Monday and this could become heavy at times. Breezy conditions can be expected today through Sunday with wind gusts to 30-35 mph possible. Higher gusts will be possible Sunday night and Monday depending on the ultimate track of Joaquin.
First Energy/Jersey Central Power and Light has activated storm plans and additional crews have already been mobilized ahead of the storm. The First Energy customer call centers will be fully staffed. Customers who are without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the “Report Outage” link at www.firstenergycorp.com
FirstEnergy customers also can subscribe to email and text message alert notifications to receive important information in advance of major storms, and updates on extended power outages. Customers can also use two-way text messaging to report outages, request updates on restoration efforts.
More information about these communications tools is available online at www.firstenergycorp.com/connect
The Morris County Office of Emergency Management will continue to post weather related updates via Facebook (facebook.com/MCUrgent) and Twitter (search for the handle @MCUrgent)
SAFETY TIPS DURING POWER OUTAGES:
- Keep flashlights and fresh batteries in your home. Avoid using candles to light your home, especially around children and pets.
- If you have a water well and pump, keep an emergency supply of bottled water and/or fill your bathtub with fresh water.
- Stock an emergency supply of convenience foods that do not require cooking.
- Have a hard-wired telephone or a charged cell phone handy in the event you need to report your electricity is out. Mobile phones can be charged in your vehicle using a car charger when the power is out.
- Gather extra blankets or a sleeping bag for each person.
- Do not use gas stoves, kerosene heaters or other open-flame heat sources to prevent deadly carbon monoxide gas from building up in your home.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with extra batteries on hand. Tune to a local station for current storm information.
BASIC PREPAREDNESS TIPS
- Fill vehicle fuel tanks and make sure you have cell phone car plug adapters to charge phones and portable devices in the event of extended power outages
- Fill spare gasoline containers in the event that you have a gas generator or other critical gas powered items
- Know where to go. If you are ordered to evacuate, know the local hurricane evacuation route(s) to take and have a plan for where you can stay. Contact your local emergency management agency for more information.
- Put together a disaster supply kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, and copies of your critical information if you need to evacuate
- If you are not in an area that is advised to evacuate and you decide to stay in your home, plan for adequate supplies in case you lose power and water for several days and you are not able to leave due to flooding or blocked roads.
- Make a family emergency plan, including third party communications contacts and rendezvous points.
Morris County Municipalities have the ability to utilize the Morris County Office of Emergency Management’s Everbridge communication platform.
This system will be utilized in the event that critical information needs to be disseminated. In addition, many of our Morris County communities have text or email alerting systems for emergency notifications. To find out what alerts are available in your municipality, check the municipal website.
To sign up for the Morris County MCURGENT notification systems text “Follow @MCUrgent” to 40404, follow us on Twitter: @MCUrgent, or find us on Facebook: facebook.com/MCUrgent
PREPARING YOUR CAR
Every vehicle should have an emergency supply kit located in the trunk.
Vehicle emergency supply kids should include:
- A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
- Jumper cables
- Tool kit and/or a multipurpose utility tool
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Reflective triangles and brightly colored cloth to make your vehicle more visible
- First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, a blanket, nonlatex gloves, scissors, hydrocortisone, thermometer, tweezers and instant cold compress
- Nonperishable, high-energy foods, such as unsalted nuts, dried fruits and hard candy
- Drinking water
- Reflective vest in case you need to walk to get help
- Car charger for your cell phone
- Fire extinguisher
- Duct tape
- Rain poncho
- Additional items for cold weather include a snow brush, shovel, windshield washer fluid, warm clothing, cat litter for traction and blankets
It’s also a good idea to keep family and emergency phone numbers, including your auto insurance provider and a towing company, in your phone.
PREPARING YOUR HOME
Hurricane winds can cause trees and branches to fall, trim or remove damaged trees and limbs to keep you and your property safe.
- Secure loose rain gutters and downspouts and clear any clogged areas or debris to prevent water damage to your property.
- Reduce property damage by retrofitting to secure and reinforce the roof, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
- Nonperishable food that does not require the use of a stove/oven etc…
- Purchase a portable generator or install a generator for use during power outages. Remember to keep generators and other alternate power/heat sources outside, at least 20 feet away from windows and doors and protected from moisture; and NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging a generator into a wall outlet.
- Check operational status of generators. Old fuel should be changed to allow for efficient operation.
BASIC DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
- Have appropriate medications on hand
- Baby supplies
- Pet supplies
- Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
- Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener for food
- Local maps
- Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
We encourage the public to look at travel plans and preparedness activities ahead of the storm.
More to follow as we continue to prepare and monitor the storm.