JOINT PRESS RELEASE: January 25, 2011
STORM COMING—BE PREPARED
With this week’s continued cold temperatures and another winter storm on the way, 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 prolonged cold weather and the likelihood of another serious storm, 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.
According to Beckley, it is important to be prepared to stay sheltered at home for at least a few days. This means storing enough food – including non-perishable canned goods, and having a non-electric can opener accessible. Stored supplies should include a gallon of water per day per person. Also essential is the proper supply of prescription medications for those who require it.
Both Beckley and Wagner 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.