Cape May County lessons learned from Sandy - NBC40.net

Cape May County lessons learned from Sandy

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In Cape May County, Emergency Management officials say that Hurricane Sandy taught them lessons on emergency preparations.

Katie Ball is the co-owner of three fudge shops in Ocean City, and as Sandy approached last October, Katie says she tried to shelter her businesses from the storm.

Ball told NBC40,"I think the biggest takeaway is that it is still happening and we are still being affected by it. We boarded, we sandbagged, we taped windows, and we did everything that we could. We had no idea what to expect so we tried to do everything we could."

But despite Ball’s efforts to fight the flood, her shops were submerged. Ball asked, "How do you prepare for four feet of water? I mean there's only so much you can do."

That question is exactly what Cape May County Emergency Management officials were asking themselves one year ago.

Director of Cape May County Emergency Management, Martin Pagliughi, explained, "Unfortunately it takes a disaster sometimes to learn where the flaws are in an emergency plan."

Two days before Sandy was expected to hit, officials were informed that the New Jersey National Guard had changed its procedures regarding the use of high-wheeled vehicles in the county...leaving them to rely on other towns' vehicles.

In the year since, the county has taken advantage of a government surplus program in which they acquired extra vehicles and the equipment to help during emergencies. Pagliughi said, "Right now we have 16, five-ton trucks that we have managed to secure, four humvees, nine generators and some other equipment that we can use for shelter supplies and things."

Cape May County officials say they will be sending each one of the 16 trucks to a separate municipality in the county, so that if a storm like Sandy does happen again, each separate town will be ready.

The county has also launched a new Emergency Management website. Pagliughi said, "We had problems trying to get people back into towns - so this website will give them live data, live information."

For a link to that website, click here.

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