North Wildwood’s Emergency Preparedness website

Code Red flood map updated

As the last couple of National Weather Service Coastal Flood warnings had tide heights that were under predicted or changed upward at the last minute we decided to update the call area for the Code Red Emergency Notification System.   Based on a draft copy of a map produced by the NJDEP utilizing LIDAR surface measurements we expanded the warning area to encompass most of New Jersey Avenue and some sections of side streets in the 100 block East.  The old map was based on the areas that received frequent nuisance flooding  the new map will include the areas that may receive tidal water during a Moderate flood warning.   While the map is based on elevations the area actually flooded depends on many factors such as wind speed, wind direction, timing of wind direction changes associated with the low, operation of tideflex valves, crown height of the N/S streets, if the storm drains are blocked with debris, height of private property bulkheads, rainfall amounts, rate of rainfall,  residual water from the last high tide, storm surges caused by a coastal low and rate of rise of the tide.  With the expanded area the Code Red flood warning messages will go to 985 more contacts.   While most Code Red alerts will be sent for what we categorize as nuisance flooding and will affect only a portion of the call area the expanded area will alert people in those area that may get water.


Winter Preparedness Time . . .

We are hoping that the cooler weather that we have been experiencing this week has one thinking about winter preparedness.    Depending on which long term winter weather forecast you look at we could be in for a colder than normal winter.    As we have mentioned before there is a central core of preparedness that doesn’t change from one event to another.  The preparations you made for sheltering during a coastal storm such as food, water and medication don’t change when you are stuck in your house during a snowstorm.   The preparations you made for evacuation during a coastal storm, when required, is not different from the evacuation during a winter storm if your heater or utilities fail.  The big difference is when you are outside.   Preparing for winter one has to have adequate outerwear and the best approach is having many layers of clothing so you can adjust to the temperature differences during the day.  While layers can be created from existing clothing that were made for warmer weather, if you have to purchase new outerwear one should consider items that you can use in different weather situations, such as outerwear with zip out liners which can use for different seasons and/or a waterproof outer shell to take the place of wearing a rain coat.  It is very important to that you don’t forget warm gloves and hat.  Also like having hip boots to walk through water you need adequate foot coverage for warmth in cold weather and when you are walking in snow.    Take a few moments to get out your winter clothes and see what is usable and what needs to be updated.   Next we should start thinking about transportation preparedness.   If you take public transportation, do you know which radio station to listen to or number to call to see if they are still operating during a snow storm?   Do you have a backup plan to get to work, school or appointments?  If you use your own vehicle did you check the antifreeze in the radiator?  Is the windshield washer fluid made for winter use?  Do your tires have enough tread for driving in the snow?  Do you refill your gas tank when it gets to half full? Do you have a winter kit (shovel, blanket, etc.) in your trunk in case you break down?    Specific Preparation information is always available on North Wildwood’s Ready website –  Click on the “Be Prepared” link on the lower right hand side of the page.

Didn't get the Code Red Call??

(09/28/18)  From time to time people will call the Emergency Management Office and inquire why they weren’t called for the last flood.   Most of the time the person didn’t get a call because they were not in the area the call was sent to.   Now is a good time to go over how Code Red works.    The City of North Wildwood, like most municipalities in the County, has a contract with Code Red to send out calls to residents.    Code Red can be accessed by emergency managers by either the Internet or Phone.    The process takes three steps – first we select the Audience -the Audience is the residents and it is geographic based – the emergency managers select an area of town that we want to send a message to or we can select the entire town;  next we create the message – which can voice,  tty, email, Code Red mobile app, and text message; and lastly we create a scenario which is simply connecting a audience and message together.  We then set a time to launch the scenario.  This takes a few minutes to do so we have canned scenarios for the frequently situations we encounter, such as flooding  from rain, tidal flooding, tornado, or snow emergency.    Currently police, fire and OEM have the ability to create and send messages and most messages are sent by Police Dispatch at the request of a NWOEM staff member or Police Shift supervisor.

Now that you know how Code Red works how do you get on the “list”.   From time to time we get a call from someone who wants to be added to the list.  Before Code Red many years ago we had a list where you had to opt in on a flood warning list.   As Code Red is a basically a reverse 9-1-1 call all Verizon and Comcast wired phones are automatically in the Code Red database.    These numbers are updated on a regular basis directly with Code Red.    As many of these numbers can be un-listed we have no ability to see if your number is in the system.   Code Red allows and we recommend that you sign up your cell phone and email address to be certain you don’t miss the calls.   You can do so by clicking on the Code Red link located on the left hand side of the website.   At the end you will be asked to create an account – it is a good idea to do so that you can go back and add, change or delete information.   Remember you can add as many numbers as you want and if you enter a number that is already in the system – you will only get one call as the Code Red system recognizes duplicates and only sends one call.

Now that you are registered – why didn’t you get a call?  Remember all calls go to a specific geographic area which is the service address for the Verizon and Comcast landline phones and the address you put in when you entered your information at the Code Red website.    Other than city wide calls which are only used for events that will affect the entire city most calls are for either flooding by rain and tidal flooding.   The OEM staff picked out the areas that are regularly affected by those two situation and created two different area (or audiences).   Sometimes water will show up elsewhere or exceed the area designated.

The first map shows the area or audience that the tidal flooding calls go to.

The next map shows the area or audience that the flooding from rain goes to.

Lastly we get calls from people that signed up their cell phones and email addresses and have moved out of the area and don’t want to get calls.   If they have created an account when they added their numbers they can simply login to the Code Red website and delete the account.     If they forgot their login or neglected to create one and want to take their names out they can contact the OEM office  and leave a message with name, address, number and email address they want deleted.    A staff member will add that information to the the do not call list.

Are You Ready???

(08/27/18) While so far the Atlantic Hurricane season has been on the quiet side, we shouldn’t take it as we are free from any problems. For the most part historically the second half of the Hurricane Season has given us the most problems.
One of the good things about having several full time weather channels on TV is that you get to see what others are doing in real time. Emergency managers use the various after action reports to review the lesson learned – these after action reports often come months after the storm and recovery. We still use these reports but seeing the storm and it’s effects in real time really adds to the words in print and gives us ideas to fine tune our responses. The other good thing is the viewers have a better understanding of the potential of a given storm.
Watching the coverage of Hurricane Lane and Hawaii two things really stick out – first the number of days of food they were requesting people to have on hand – in their case 14 days. It seems that every storm this number goes up. With the change in weather patterns perhaps planning for 30 days will not be out of the question in the near future. The second thing that was noticed was the fact that they talked about not having enough shelter space for their residents and to watch your neighbors. This is the reality of every community that has more residents than can fit in a meeting room / shelter.  This is probably the main reason that, as emergency managers, we stress the importance of preparedness and self reliance. Take a few minutes and review the preparedness tips on North Wildwood’s “Ready” page  by clicking on the “Be Prepared” link on the lower right hand side of the page.

At a recent meeting of County Emergency Managers a representative from  Atlantic City Electric spoke about a change in their approach to major outages since their recent merger with Exelon Corporation which should be of interest to you.   Exelon Corporation is the parent company to six of the nations largest electric providers.    Exelon’s approach to major outages is “all hands on deck” in that they will send resources from other owned companies to our area in the event of a major outage.   So you may see crews from Washington, Baltimore, Philadephia,  Delmarva or Chicago working along ACE personnel.   In return the ACE crews may be sent to other areas to assist.  The change in policy will allow quicker return to service in the event of a major outage.   This is good news for us.   On the downside it may take longer to get that street light repaired if the crews are out of the area for outages elsewhere.   The last major outage was the 2010 Ice storm where portions of North Wildwood was out for almost a week.

National Hurricane Preparedness Week

It is National Hurricane Preparedness Week with it’s daily reminders.    We will post the entire week on our Ready website while we will post the tip of the day on the Facebook page each day.   The week starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday.    The topics are Sunday – Determine Your Risks, Monday – Develop an Evacuation Plan, Tuesday – Assemble Disaster Supplies, Wednesday – Get an Insurance Check-up, Thursday – Strengthen Your Home,  Friday – Help Your Neighbor,  and Saturday -Complete a Written Plan.   See the below graphics for more information and for more ideas click on the “Be Prepared” link on this page.

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July 1, 2014 

As we are already a month into  the new hurricane season and our first tropical storm has been named it is time to check our emergency plans and preparation.   We urge everyone to visit the links on the left hand side of this page.   They are links listed under BE PREPARED.    Preparation is not hard and while most  preparation needs will be the same for everyone each person will have to come up with his or her own plan.    By visiting the suggested websites and tailoring the information to your specific situation you can check your plans and ultimately will be better prepared. 

Also today due to the many requests to be added to the flood notification list we have expanded the flood notification to all residents west of New York Avenue from Spruce to 26th Avenues.     Phones in these areas will be called and a recorded message will played.   There are two messages that can be sent one known as the initial call sent when it appears that flooding will take place and one sent when the siren has been sounded.     These phone calls are sent via the CODE RED Community Alert System.  Read below to how to add your cell or other phone numbers.    REMEMBER this system is used city wide for other notifications so if you are not in the flood prone area you still should visit the CODE RED website and add your alternate phone numbers. 

Currently the Code Red Community Alert System will dial every Verizon and Comcast Phone in North Wildwood.   However with many people relying on Cellular phones the system will enable you to add phones to your address.   Remember this system is based on North Wildwood addresses so when you sign up you need to attach your out of town phone to your North Wildwood address.    Being addressed based the city will be using the system to alert those in flood prone areas of flood warnings, those on the snow emergency routes to move their cars and on occasion when there is a natural gas leak or police emergency a circular area around the incident will be notified.   Those of you visiting this page can follow this link to get a head start on signing up your “other” phones (Click on the CODE RED LOGO)


On the Code Red website you will be asked if you want to add your email address or receive text messages.   We have the ability to duplicate the contents of the voice message into an email and truncated text message.    As this will only be used in an emergency why not add all your contact preferences and methods so you can keep informed.    Also those with “smart” phones will have the capability to download the Code Red App. 

At the  North Wildwood Office of Emergency Management we feel our central job is to keep communications when the normal systems are failing.   Therefore we don’t put one form of communication above another.   At times some may seem simplistic in these times of technology however when normal systems fail we will fall back on them.   That  is why we depend on a fire siren,  AM radio and telephone as basic methods of notification.   We will be using North Wildwood’s AM1640 as the method of communication that can put the most information out.   Please get your self a good AM radio.   Remember when there are no emergencies AM 1640 broadcasts special event information – ever wondered what time the free concert starts and who is playing? it is on AM 1640;  want to know what the start and end times of the festival in the entertainment district?  it’s on AM 1640 as well as the upcoming events for the next several weeks.