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NJ Office of Emergency Management
Colonel Rick Fuentes Major Patrick J. Callahan
Superintendent, New Jersey State Police
State Director of Emergency Management
Commanding Officer, Emergency Management Section

Mary Goepfert (609) 963-6818 May 27, 2014


Awareness, Preparedness, and Community Connections are Key to Hurricane Planning

W. TRENTON - Christie Administration officials are reminding New Jersey residents that the start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1 and runs through November 30. The awareness reminder coincides with the National Hurricane Center’s announcement of National Hurricane Preparedness Week, which began on May 25. Key readiness actions are maintaining awareness of weather events, preparing a family disaster plan and disaster supplies kit, and urging others around you to do the same.

New Jersey State Police Superintendent and State Director of Emergency Management Colonel Rick Fuentes stressed the importance of connecting with information sources, and with other community members. "New Jersey's hurricane experiences inform the advice we give today - awareness and preparedness saves lives. We urge everyone to tune in, log-on, opt-in, ‘like’ or ‘follow’ state, county, local and federal agencies for credible disaster-relation information such as alerts and warnings, situational awareness updates, and where to find help. Personal connections matter, too. After you've finished your household preparedness activities, lend a hand to someone who may need assistance, or join the 22,000 New Jerseyans who’ve completed Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training."

This year, NJ Office of Emergency Management officials will be working closely with the National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service to improve information sharing regarding the effects of storm surge. According to the National Hurricane Center, storm surge is one of the most deadly impacts of hurricanes. Storm surge can affect coastal and inland areas.

Administration officials are also focusing their message on people with access and functional needs, who are disproportionately impacted by natural disasters. "The start of Hurricane season is a good time to check and double check your household’s emergency plan to ensure that you’re prepared, particularly for seniors and people with disabilities," said Jennifer Velez, Commissioner of the Department of Human Services, which provides programs and services for New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents. "It’s important to assess your needs and plan accordingly: In the event of an emergency, do you have enough medication? If your caregiver can’t get to you, can a neighbor or family member assist? Do you have a backup plan for any durable medical equipment that requires electricity if there is a loss of power? These are all very critical elements of a sound preparedness plan."

New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd stressed the importance of family preparedness actions. "It’s important to prepare for all emergencies before they occur, whether they are hurricanes or other events," O’Dowd said. “Now is the time to review emergency plans and update emergency kits. Emergency kits should contain contact information for doctors, spare eye glasses, extra batteries for hearing aids and an up-to-date list of medications and prescriptions. If possible, make sure you have enough medications that can last you up to two weeks. Preparing now can save lives later."

There are basic steps that residents, businesses, and visitors can take to increase their individual level of preparedness for a hurricane or any type of emergency event. These measures include:

Prepare an Emergency Go-Bag, which includes items such as, bottled water, battery-powered radio, flashlights and extra batteries, non-perishable foods, and necessary prescription drugs. Remember to include extra cash in the event ATMs are not working. Remember to maintain at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle at all times.

Make a Family Emergency Plan, which will ensure your family members know where to go, whom to contact, and how to remain in contact should family members become separated during an emergency event.

Stay Informed, knowing information such as local evacuation routes, the location of nearby shelters, what to do before and during a flood, and other basic safety tips can help keep individuals withstand the first few hours of a hurricane or any other emergency.

"Hurricane preparedness is a critical element of the state’s overarching homeland security and emergency preparedness efforts," said NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Director Edward Dickson. "New Jersey has experienced first-hand the damage and destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, and we remain committed to reminding residents, businesses and visitors to be prepared for any type of emergency as we begin the summer travel and vacation season."

Specific safety tips and additional information regarding hurricane preparedness can be found at www.ready.nj.gov, the official website of the NJ Office of Emergency Management. Hurricane related information from the NJOEM is also available on Facebook (www.facebook.com/READYNEWJERSEY) and Twitter (@ReadyNJ).


To stay informed about disasters and emergencies in New Jersey via social media, follow the NJOEM on Twitter @ReadyNJ, "like" us on www.facebook.com/READYNEWJERSEY, or get email and text message alerts via www.Nixle.com or www.njalert.gov.