Seeing Police Chief Robert Weck this afternoon in Downtown Summit, he was upbeat, but aware that the city's emergency management team was in for a long night.
"If there's one message that important to get out, it's that people should stay inside and not come out to look at downed power lines," he said grabbing a cup of coffee. "We don't need the help, wires are very dangerous." The city has been following up on calls about downed wires all afternoon.
Weck issued a laundry list of emergency information for Summit residents. The message, issued on the Nixle alert system was sent out earlier today.
Over the past several days, the City’s numerous departments have worked diligently to prepare for Hurricane Sandy and with the impending storm’s arrival, we ask that everyone be patient, stay calm, stay indoors and use common sense. Both the Police and Fire departments have called in extra personnel for the next two days and the DPW crews are ready to deploy as well.
Please remember that 911 is to be used for LIFE threatening emergencies, not if you’ve lost power etc.
For the latest statewide information, please see the New Jersey State Office of Emergency Management website ( http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/)
All NJ Transit operations have been suspended. All stations are now closed. NJ Transit Police asks our Public Safety partners to please report any issues (downed wires or trees, damaged infrastructure, etc.) discovered at our stations, yards and facilities. Any passengers located at our stations should be directed to your local shelters as there are no means to transport them via public transportation.
All events, issues, questions or unusual situations should be reported to the NJ Transit Police at 973.378.6565.
JCP&L continues their preparation plans for Hurricane Sandy, Key points in preparation are:
*Individuals should prepare for the possibility of outages lasting 7 to 10 days
*High winds could prolong restoration efforts
*Critical care and well water customers should review their individual and local emergency plans for this event
*JCP&L will coordinate priorities through the County Offices of Emergency Management *Report downed wires immediately to JCP&L by calling 1-800-436-7734 or 9-1-1.
*Never go near a downed power line, even if you think it is no longer carrying electricity. Do not try to remove trees or tree limbs from power lines. Wait for utility crews to arrive
*Customers must report power outages to JCP&L – not the police
Reporting a regular power outage: (888) 544-4877 (888-LIGHTSS)
Customer Service: (800) 662-3115
Follow them on: Twitter: @JCP_L
24/7 Power Center outages: www.jcp-l.com
Web Site: www.firstenergycorp.com
New Jersey American Water has spent the last several days making preparations to help ensure continuous service to their customers. They have tested and topped off all generators, and as of 8am this morning, opened our 24/7 Emergency Operations Center located at their headquarters in Voorhees. As of this morning, our operations are running at normal levels. They also encourage you to "like" them on Facebook as their page is being monitored, updated, and replied to on a continuous basis. Finally, if you do not have water service, please call their Service Center at 1 800-652-6987.
Overnight street parking is suspended until further notice.
The Transfer Station will be closed on Tuesday (30th) and garbage collection has been suspended for Tuesday. Look for updates on the City of Summit website.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC):
• From 1999 to 2010, nearly 600 generator-related carbon monoxide (CO) deaths have been reported to the CPSC.
• CO poisoning from generator use causes an annual average of 81 deaths. The majority of the deaths occurred as a result of using a generator inside a home’s living space, in the basement or in the garage.
• One generator produces as much CO as hundreds of cars. CO from a generator is deadly and can incapacitate and kill you within minutes.
Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using them are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) would like you to know that there are simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from improper use of portable generators.
To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards:
•Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.
•NEVER use generators in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
•Follow manufacturer's instructions.
•Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, following manufacturer's instructions.
•Test CO alarms often and replace batteries when needed.
To Avoid Electrical Hazards:
•Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy- like structure.
•Dry your hands before touching the generator.
•Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor- rated extension cord. Make sure the entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.
•NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
•If necessary to connect generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install appropriate equipment. Or, your utility company may be able to install an appropriate transfer switch.
To Avoid Fire Hazards:
•Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
•Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass containers.
•Store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance.
Please visit http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/co/generator.shtm for additional portable generator safety information.
When opened, the shelter should be used ONLY if you lose power and only as a last resort. It is always best to shelter in your home or with family and friends if possible. If you do need shelter, please bring the following items:
*Needed medications in the prescription bottle.
*Bedding, blankets and pillows.
If you rely on the services of a care giver, that person must accompany you to the shelter. Pets (other than service animals) are not permitted in the shelter.
Please bring in all items including signs, decorations, plants, patio furniture or other items that may become dangerous in high winds. Please make sure your generator is properly ventilated. Please use common sense...stay indoors, keep away from downed power lines, etc.
Please check on your neighbors by phone - update them if they are not receiving the Nixle or Code Red updates.
All non-emergency City Hall offices, including the library are closed Monday.
Board of Education has announced that all Summit public schools will be closed for Monday and Tuesday.
There are currently no plans to change the date of Halloween trick or treating at this time. Information concerning this topic will be updated as the days go on.
As the storm approaches, please move your car(s) off of the street. This is to facilitate the efforts of our emergency personnel, as well as simplify the task of public works personnel clearing any downed trees, or our electrical utility personnel working on any compromised power lines. Clearing the streets will help us help you, so please move cars from the street as soon as feasible, and be indoors before the storm gets severe. Please do not move leaves to the curb until after the storm has passed.
911 CALLS / COMMUNICATION
During the possible upcoming storm, please reserve 911 for calls concerning bodily injury or other serious emergencies. Please do not call 911 simply because 908-273-0051 is busy. Remember, other members of your community will be using 911 for life threatening calls.
Again, please take this opportunity to sign up for Nixle and Code Red, both will allow the police department and city to communicate with you promptly and efficiently via text and email at no cost to you. Visit the City’s website for links and other information ( http://cityofsummit.org/)
FEMA advises that if a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
•Listen to the radio or TV for information. Use the Internet for detailed weather information.
•Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
•Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
•Turn off propane tanks.
•Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
•Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
•You should have three to five days worth of food and drinking water.
•Conserve water use as much as is feasible.
•Make sure you have fresh batteries in working flashlights, and make sure all of your family members can easily find them.
Also, The American Red Cross has prepared several publications to help you prepare for a hurricane. They have a checklist of things you should do and have on hand, suggestions about a disaster plan for your family and a guide for handling food and water during an emergency. Visit the City’s website for links.
During a Hurricane
•Be sure all of your family stays indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
•Close all interior doors-secure and brace external doors.
•Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds may pick up again.
•Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
•Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
•Be sure to stay far away from any down power lines.
After the Hurricane
The Commissioner of Banking and Insurance has put together this list of suggestions for consumers on filing insurance claims.
•Once it is safe to return home, assess the damage and make temporary repairs or arrange for a qualified professional to do so in order to protect your property. Take photos of the damage and remove personal property if your home cannot be secured. Make a list of damaged property. Do not dispose of property until an insurance adjuster has reviewed it for your claim. Many policies include reimbursement for storage costs incurred until your home is repaired.
•Make sure you know what is in your policy and what coverage options are available for your cleanup and repair efforts.
•If you can still live in your home, talk with your agent or insurer about critical repairs that need to be made. Whether you make the repairs or hire someone, save the receipts for your claim.
•If you need to find other lodging, keep records of expenses and all receipts. Homeowners and renter's insurance generally provide limited coverage for expenses like: meals, rent, utility installation and transportation.
If you have any questions about the coverage in your policy, or if you need help with a problem regarding your claim following a disaster at your home, contact the Department at 1-800-446-7467 or http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/index.html.
For emergency preparedness information go to: http://www.ready.nj.gov/.
The City of Summit is well prepared and would like to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding over the next few days. Rest assured, that in the event you or your family needs assistance, there are professional trained and dedicated emergency personnel waiting to respond.
The city of Summit website is a wealth of information for the storm and the city’s services, please visit it throughout the next few days. http://cityofsummit.org/
Working together, Summit will get through this event as we have in the past. Be safe and smart !!
Chief Robert Weck
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