Hurricane Sandy: Newark to Open JFK as Emergency Shelter
'Frankenstorm' expected to hit area early next week
City officials are bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy Monday and urging families to prepare emergency plans.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that emergency personnel are preparing all along the coast. High tides, wide-spread flooding, and 74 to 100 mile an hour wind gusts are expected on Monday. The last hurricane to batter New Jersey and the Newark region was Hurricane Irene, in August 2011. (A list of recommended safety measures appears below.)
The city will open a temporary shelter for persons displaced from their homes by the hurricane’s effects at the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center, 211 West Kinney St. ( entrance on Howard Street).
In addition, the City’s Non-Emergency Call Center will be operational beginning at 6 p.m., on Sunday, Oct. 28, and will remain open until further notice. Residents can report hurricane-related incidents or concerns to (973) 733-4311. For continuous information on hurricane safety tips and updates, residents can also tune to NWK-TV, Channel 78, the City’s Government Access Channel. City Hall and all municipal agencies will be open at their normal hours on Monday, Oct. 29.
For additional information on creating your family emergency plan and putting together an emergency supply kit, please visit the State of New Jersey’s website at www.njready.gov. You can also call the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-621-FEMA or visit their website at www.ready.gov.
The city has set up the JFK Center as a shelter in partnership with the American Red Cross and has identified additional shelters in each ward if needed. The City of Newark’s Department of Child and Family Well-Being is also coordinating with the Associated Humane Societies to ensure that preparations are made for animal sheltering.
Booker also urged residents to check on their neighbors, particularly the elderly, to be sure they have adequate supplies and protection during the hurricane. He also advised residents not to drive their vehicles into flooded streets and to move their parked cars from areas that are subject to flooding in advance of the anticipated hurricane.
The City of Newark recommends the following safety measures to prepare for a hurricane:
- Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Consider building a safe room.
- Prepare a basic emergency supply kit which contains one gallon of water per person and food for at least three days, prescription medication for three days, a non-electric can opener, moist towelettes, garbage bags, flashlights and extra batteries, a battery-powered to receive weather reports, local maps, a first aid kit and a whistle to signal for help.
In addition, you should:
- Listen to the radio or TV for information.
- Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water. (The city will provide drinking water quality updates to residents.)
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
- If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
- If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
- If you feel you are in danger.
- If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
Have Disaster Supplies on Hand
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
- First aid kit and manual.
- Emergency food and water.
- Nonelectric can opener.
- Essential medicines.
- Cash and credit cards.
- Sturdy shoes.
Develop an Emergency Communication Plan
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.