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State OEM is Preparing for Hurricane Sandy

10-26-12

New Jersey officials are preparing for Hurricane Sandy and its impact on the state. Lt. Joseph Geleta of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that agencies are working together in anticipation of the storm.

“The state emergency operation center in West Trenton is activated and we’re working with our partners in various state department entities to prepare and monitor the storm and stage assets as needed across the state,” Geleta said.

The state OEM is working with county offices to track the storm, assess what various portions of the state may need and deploy requests as needed, according to Geleta.

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Officials are taking the storm very seriously. “Basically all the counties are preparing for this storm as it tracks towards New Jersey and ramping up as needed on their end to prepare for the storm as it approaches,” Geleta said. “This is a storm that has the potential to have very high winds and very heavy rain so again we’re going to expect probably some power outages.”

Geleta said OEM officials have learned not to take any storm lightly. “We have to have every plan of attack available, have our resources staged so we can make the necessary adjustments as needed as it approaches,” he said.

With a threat of power outages, Geleta said emergency personnel make sure they have redundancy built into their communication systems so they don’t have to worry about losing touch.

It’s critical for families to be prepared, according to Geleta. He said families should have a disaster plan in place, a disaster supply kit available and plenty of water, food and medications on hand. “That’s very critical that our families take the necessary steps to be prepared,” he said. “And then we on the state level, county level government, we try to do what we can to support them in their efforts.”

Geleta said the state utility companies are preparing as well, adding that the Board of Public Utilities has representation at the state’s emergency operation center. “Of course they stage assets as well as us in preparation for this storm coming up the coast,” he said. “Everyone’s working together to try to mitigate this situation as it approaches and we look forward to a successful track to solve this storm if it comes into the coast as it’s supposed to.”