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Thousands Wait For Power; Twp. Issues Statement

Township Office of Emergency Management offers guidelines for coping, generators; no restoration time set for now.

There were more than 2,500 Basking Ridge homes still without power Monday shortly before 5 p.m.

As of 4:50 p.m. 2,629 households in Basking Ridge, and 81 in Liberty Corner, remained without power, according to JCP&L. An advisory issued on Monday afternoon by Bernards Township said the power company has not given a timeline for restoration.

The number of customers in Bernards Township without power had remained fairly steady throughout the day, with the vast majority of those households in their second day of waiting for their power to be restored, even as the temperature returned to 80 degrees. 

Christopher Hurst, the township's deputy coordinator of the Office of Emergency information, said a link to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has good information about food safety and power outage related issues

"The majority of power outages are from downed trees and tree limbs and JCP&L is working to rectify the issues, but due to the widespread damage it may take them some time to get all of their customers back up and running," Hurst said in an email on Monday afternoon.

Hurst said it is important that people of all ages stay away from all downed utility lines. "Power lines that seem to be de-energized may not be, or could become re-energized at any time," he said.

Caution in using generators

As far as generators are concerned, he said, it is very important that they be kept outside and away from open windows and doors to prevent carbon monoxide from entering the house.

Hurst also said it is important to turn generators off before refueling them and make sure that any spilled fuel is cleaned up before re-starting. 

Hurst said drinking water in Bernards Township remains safe, although New Jersey American Water is asking residents to conserve water since the water treatment plant in Millstone is running on emergency power. The water company website offers up-to-date information, he said.

Township issues statement on hurricane-related issues 

The following statement was received on Monday afternoon from the office of the municipal clerk, Denise Szabo:

Bernards Township is still experiencing power outages and roads closed due to flooding. Town hall and the police department have experienced power loss and are open using generators. Phone and computer services are limited at town hall. 

For Tuesday, August 30, the Bernards Township Municipal Court has been canceled and will not be in session. All cases will be rescheduled and notices mailed to defendants and attorneys.

The grace period for the third quarter 2011 taxes is extended to August 30, 2011. No postmarks will be accepted.

We have not received a timeline from JCP&L regarding expectations for restoring power either at the municipal buildings or within the Township.  If you are without power, contact JCP&L directly at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or 1-800-545-7738. Please note they are not currently predicting restoration times. 

There are many trees and branches down within the township. Our Department of Public Works is working to remove these as quickly as possible. In some area, the trees are leaning into power lines and those cannot be touched until the power line issues are resolved by the utility company.  

The Pill Hill Recycling Center will operate on extended hours as follows:

Friday, Sept. 1,  7:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 2, 7:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 3, 7:30 a.m. through 6:30 p.m.

Punch cards will not be required for this period of time with proof of residency (driver’s license or Bernards Township Punch card).  Residents may bring in unlimited brush for recycling. Commercial vehicles and vehicles larger than a pickup truck are not allowed.

Pleasant Valley Park, the Coakley-Russo Golf Course and the Township athletic fields are closed until further notice. 

While our water supplies have not been impacted, New Jersey American is asking customers to reduce or limit water use as much as possible while they restore their operating plants that lost power.  Recovery to normal operations may take several days more. 

The Basking Ridge and Liberty Corner Fire Departments cannot pump out flooded basements. Please contact a private contractor if you have water in your basement. Notify JCP&L at 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) or 1-800-545-7738 if you lose electricity and your basement is flooded. Stay away from the breaker box if it is in a flooded basement and do not go into a flooded basement if energized wires are present.   If water is rising to the height of a gas appliance, turn off the gas supply.

To restore gas service to appliances, call PSE&G at 1-800-436-7734 to have the appliance checked for safety. If you smell gas, contact PSE&G immediately.

Street closures within the Township are as follows. This list is subject to change at any time. PLEASE do not remove barricades and drive down blocked roads. The roads are closed due to dangerous downed power lines or impassable trees or water. 

  • South Finley Avenue between Lake Road and Homestead Road
  • West Oak Street between Mt. Airy Road and Brook Avenue
  • Lyons Road Between Goltra Drive and Mt. Airy Road
  • Madisonville Road between North Maple Avenue and Route 202
  • Lord Stirling Road Between Village Drive and Riverside Drive
  • Old Army Road between Old Farm Road and the Bernardsville border
  • Brook Avenue
  • Decker Street
  • Juniper Way near the cul-de-sac"

Continuing information is available on the township website.

The CDC offers the following guidelines for power out longer than two hours:

  • For the Freezer section: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
  • For the Refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

For guidelines on refreezing food when the power comes back on, visit the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s page on Food Safety in an Emergency.

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