Cape May County gets trucks, other supplies for emergency response
Cape May County learned a lot from Super Storm Sandy, the super storm that devastated communities all along the New Jersey Coast including Cape May County on October 29, 2012.
One of the most important lessons that the disaster taught the County was that preparedness efforts start at home.
Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton remembers, "Two days before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit our region, our Office of Emergency Management was informed that the New Jersey National Guard had changed its procedures regarding the preposition of high wheel vehicles in the county. The new strategy was to dispatch the vehicles on a mission specific request which meant it could take several hours to respond to an emergency in Cape May County. We knew this policy would not be good for Cape May County."
Following Hurricane Sandy, the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management began the process to secure high wheel vehicles and other equipment and supplies to sustain Cape May County in an emergency until support and assistance would be available from the State or Federal Government.
Emergency Management Coordinator Martin Pagliughi said, "The Cape May County Office of Emergency Management began looking into obtaining vehicles and other items through the government surplus program approximately seven months ago. Our plan was to acquire at least one high wheel vehicle, a five-ton truck, for each of the sixteen municipalities in Cape May County plus at least four for the County Task Force to use, if the need arises, for high water rescue."
To-date, the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management has been successful in securing 16 trucks, four Humvies, nine generators, spare parts for vehicles and approximately 50 cages for animals. The items were secured from military bases in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Jersey.
"Each municipality will equip their truck for fire fighting and high water rescue in low lying areas of their communities during floods," added Pagliughi.
Also, some vehicles will be equipped with stand-by generators to power storm water pump stations in the event of a massive power outage in the county. Additionally, county trucks would be on standby for high water rescue in any part of the county, generators would be distributed to the municipalities for use in shelters and back-up for storm water pump stations and the animal cages will be used to equip animal sheltering trailers.
Director Thornton added, "During the past year the Office of Emergency Management has taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors including establishing the county's first Animal Response Team or CART and the creation of a new website to better prepare and inform our citizens in an emergency situation, capemaycountyemergency.net."
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