JOINT PRESS RELEASE: March 09, 2011
STORM COMING—BE PREPARED
Like the Bob Dylan song says, “A hard rain’s a-gonna fall.” So it is with this coming storm and the promise of more floods. The Hunterdon County Departments of Health and Public Safety are joining forces to remind area residents to take precautions to safeguard not only their personal health but also the well being of vulnerable neighbors.
“With the chance our area will experience flooding, even minor health emergencies can become major concerns,” said John Beckley, health officer and director of the Hunterdon County Department of Health. “We ask residents to be sure they have readily available the important phone numbers to emergency services – police and fire departments, first aid squads, hospitals and the Red Cross for emergency and shelter information.” These numbers should be available both at home and programmed into personal cell phones.
George Wagner, director of the Hunterdon County Department of Public Safety, reminds residents that the county now offers the Rapid Notify System that sends emergency alert notifications and updates to anyone who subscribes. “Our system is capable of simultaneously broadcasting an alert to thousands of people over email, telephone, cell phone, pager and Personal Digital Assistant,” explained Wagner. “We encourage residents to subscribe to this system so they’ll receive immediate alerts when an emergency occurs and specific ways to reduce risk in potentially life threatening situations.” Subscribe at http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/rapidnotify.htm.
The county recently appointed Brayden Fahey as the new coordinator to the Office of Emergency Management. Fahey, who serves as a liaison between municipal Emergency Management Offices and the State Police Office of Emergency Management has a lead role in emergency planning, mitigation, and resource management for wide scale emergencies and disasters such as major floods. “Hunterdon is fortunate to already have an inclusive response system in place enabling us to coordinate efforts during emergencies,” said Fahey. “Municipal responders and state police make for a very competent team.”
Both Beckley and Fahey ask residents to check up on elderly neighbors whenever possible to make sure they are not in need of assistance. More information about how to prepare for emergencies is available at www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/911/oem/preparedness.htm and www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/pdf/health/publichealth/Plan9.pdf.
Hunterdon County residents can also register online for the Register Ready program. This is a joint effort of the county department of human services, the office of emergency management, and the health department working together to ensure that county residents with special needs have an opportunity to let emergency response agencies know who and where they are before a major disaster occurs. Residents – or caregivers on their behalf – should consider signing up with Register Ready if, because of physical or cognitive limitations, language difficulty, or lack of transportation, they anticipate having difficulty meeting their critical needs during an emergency.
While signing up with Register Ready is not a guarantee of individual assistance during an emergency, the information in the registry will increase the ability of local responders to best utilize available resources that will be stressed during this critical time. Sign up online at www.co.hunterdon.nj.us and click on the Quick Link for “Register Ready.” Or register by phone by calling 2-1-1 or Hunterdon Helpline at 1-800-272-4630.