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Somerset County Prepares for Hurricane Sandy

County residents urged to prepare themselves and notified where to seek information, updates, shelters.

Somerset County departments and emergency-response agencies are preparing for Hurricane Sandy, forecast to arrive in New Jersey early next week, and has advised where to go for information, updates and — if need be — for shelter.

“Emergency management, public works, law enforcement, human services, communications and many other county departments are proactively planning their response to this storm,” Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire, public health and safety liaison, said in a news release from the county on Friday afternoon. “Our number-one goal is to ensure the safety of our residents.”

A year after last October's damaging snowstorm, the hurricane is expected to arrive in the area and to bring flooding, fallen trees and other wind damage. Residents who live in the various flood zones should tune in to their local radio stations or visit their municipal websites for frequent updates on events and possible actions, the county advises.

“County public works crews will handle county road and bridge closings as needed, along with debris removal and the operation of the new flood-control gates in Bound Brook,” said Freeholder Patrick Scaglione, public works liaison.  “Also, the current plan is to pick up residents’ recycling as scheduled next week.”

Residents urged to prepare emergency 'disaster kit'

“We encourage all county residents to have a ‘disaster kit’ containing the necessities they will need in case of a long-term loss of electricity and other utilities, or if they are faced with the possibility of having to evacuate their homes,” Caliguire said. “Remember, emergency responders may not be able to assist you during the first few days of a disaster, so it’s important to be prepared whether you are at home or staying with a relative or friend.”

Kits should include a supply of bottled water, non-perishable food, a manual can opener, a fire extinguisher, a change of clothes, first-aid kit, bedding, prescription medication, sanitary needs, a standard AM/FM radio, flashlights and extra batteries, and any items required for infants or people with disabilities. Also, get cash before the storm, since power outages may disrupt ATMs, the county advises. Visit www.co.somerset.nj.us/health/prepareguid.htm for a detailed list of disaster-kit items and for other hurricane-related resources. 

Residents who live in flood-prone areas are encouraged to self-evacuate with friends and family; going to a shelter should be a last resort, as these facilities quickly fill to capacity. Residents are asked to bring medications with them if they need to go to a relative’s or friend’s home or to a shelter. 

This weekend, in preparation for the storm, residents are advised remove any loose items from your yard that might get blown around, such as lawn furniture and outdoor decor.

Don't place leaves in streets, county and Bernardsville officials say.

Residents throughout the county are asked not to rake leaves into the road, as they they will clog storm drains. Bernardsville police and officials reinforced that message.

Residents can sign up for free e-mail bulletins on county road closings by visiting the county website at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/NJSOMER/subscriber/new. For other storm-related links, go to http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/_ongoing/emergency_preparedness.html

For information about preparing pets and livestock for an emergency, visit the County Animal Response Team’s webpage at http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/cart/index.html

Follow the county’s Facebook and Twitter pages at www.twitter.com/SomersetCntyNJ andwww.facebook.com/SomersetCountyNJ for periodic updates on storm-related issues as they affect Somerset County.

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