North Wildwood’s Emergency Preparedness website

2407, 2023

Time to get ready for a El Niño winter . . .

Various commercial and amateur weather outlets present long-term winter forecasts at this time of the year and we have been looking at many of them.    In the world of preparedness, the more time you have before a possible event will affect you, the more time you have to be better prepared.   These forecasts are not set in stone and there will be regular revisions up until the time the storm hits us.   Nonetheless, there is a core element affecting the weather this winter and that is El Niño.    Looking at the past history and viewing the different forecasts,  El Niño years often bring Nor’easters and depending on the path the Nor’easter takes can bring blizzards to the Northeast.  El Niño years don’t necessarily mean more total snow for us but it seems there are higher chances for one or more severe storms.    Considering that in El Niño year of 1979, we had close to 2 feet of snow in one storm,  in February 2010 just as the 2009 El Niño was winding down we had an ice storm that knocked out electricity for close to a week and in February 2016, during an El Niño, we had winter storm Jonas it would be prudent to believe that the chances for us to experience severe weather this winter are higher than normal.   What to do?  First, you can look back to the beginning of the month when we all lost electricity – What did you learn from that event?   Do you have an alternative source of electricity?   Whether it be a generator, solar solution, or portable power station (battery solution) you should have something to at least get you through a short power outage.   Next, are you prepared, do you have the proper outerwear to use during snow storms, cold weather, and coastal flooding?  this is followed closely by your vehicle and home, are they ready for the winter?  Anti-freeze, tires, storm windows,  etc.   In most cases, one already has what is needed to survive a severe winter storm – it’s more about where you put them (clothes, boots, etc.) the last time you used them or did you discard them as you didn’t think you would need them as we live at the shore.   Take the time to review the Winter weather preparedness tips that are available on this website, by clicking on the “Be Prepared” link at the top of the page,  and as you do you will learn what you may need to do or get.   Who knows thinking about winter storms during the hot temperatures we are currently experiencing may make you feel cooler.  It’s not too early to be prepared for winter.

2205, 2023

Why and what does it take to be prepared . . .

Why should I prepare?  First and foremost is the fact that there is no way any one town, one county, or one state can take care of everyone in it if most of us weren’t prepared.   Looking at our community the sheer facts are that there could be available at any given time during any 12-hour shift – 30 to 50 first responders (counting volunteers and possibly a few more if you count all public employees) for 2500 residents in the winter and ten times that in the summer.   They will have to share  5 to 7 high-water vehicles and a handful of boats.  When it comes to sheltering locally we are looking at a total of 200-350 people.  This means those that are capable of self-evacuation and/or self-sheltering at home (i.e., you have a generator and food stocks) should plan for their own welfare, those that have nearby family or friends should have a plan to be assisted by family or friends.   The first responders should only be there for those who don’t have anyone to count on.   Unfortunately, first responders spend a lot of time dealing with those that only can be described as clueless – those that drive in water and call for someone to risk their lives to rescue them when their car stalls out and those that thought it was a “cool” thing to ride the storm out in their house when they were supposed to leave and then need to be evacuated when the water comes in or electric goes out.

What does it take to be prepared? – Basically, there are three key things that you need to be on your way to being prepared . . .

(1) ALERT SYSTEM – You need to have a way to get emergency alerts and you have to be aware of the current weather forecast – you can’t properly respond to something when you don’t have enough time to respond.   Routinely checking the weather, having weather apps or weather radio, and having registered alternative methods to be notified (i.e., cell phones) will often give you several days’ notice of an upcoming storm.

(2) PLAN – You have to have a plan or at least an idea of what needs to be done.  Remember in times of stress you fall back on what you have done or practiced.   When a disaster strikes you have to have an idea of what to do.  The perfect preparer would have a written plan and have family disaster drills to test it and the minimum someone should do is to discuss with their family or friends what they would do if a disaster strikes their area.  Simply having a discussion about what to do will get you thinking in the right direction. Something as simple as a checklist of what you need to take if you had to evacuate would be of great assistance.

(3) SUPPLIES – Have an understanding that you don’t have to prepare for one specific event and that all events have central components that are the same and will be used for every disaster. By getting into a few good habits you can be prepared for anything,  for an emergency food supply keep in your food pantry a few extra canned and dry goods and bottled water for an emergency.    Remember to rotate them during your regular use so you don’t end up with outdated food.   Keep all your medications and important papers in one location so you can grab them quickly in an emergency also make it a habit to keep at least a 1/2 tank of gas in your vehicle so if you had to evacuate you can.   The next time you make a purchase of clothing think about where and when it can be used – chances are the raincoat you bought to go to work can be used to keep you dry in a hurricane and with sufficient layers under it dry during a snowstorm.    Your fishing or boating boots can be used to walk in flood water or with heavy socks during a snowstorm.   What we are trying to point out you don’t have to purchase specialized clothing or even a supply of freeze-dried survival food.

When you think about it, it doesn’t take much to be prepared, it takes a will to do it.   When you have the time take a minute to explore the links on the “Be Prepared” page.  When you are ready to start planning to be prepared take a moment to list what it would look like to be fully prepared then conduct a gap analysis comparing where you want to be and where you are at now, then prioritize what has to be done based on what you can afford and the importance of the item to the welfare of your family and as they say. . .  just do it.


1703, 2023

Spring and Summer Weather Preparedness

We can get severe weather any time during the year however, during the spring when the cold air remnants of winter clash with the warm air of spring we generally get high winds.  Other places get Thunderstorms or Tornadoes and they are not out of the question for our area.   Today it is easier than ever to be informed but to get meaningful and concise information you have to pick and choose where you get your weather.   Some weather channels feature more non-weather than weather forecasts; others want to give you different forecast models of all the possibilities rather than what they think is coming our way.   The only real forecast to rely on is the National Weather Service.   So now what is the best way to get the forecast?   First, you could make an effort to check the Local Forecast on the National Weather Service website, but this requires that you make an effort and have the ability to check the website.   Also while you’ll know what is forecasted you won’t if things change or severe weather is imminent.    Therefore, you should find out the best platforms for getting National Weather Service alerts.   Probably the most common way and the one thing you will have during most of the day is your smartphone.  There are plenty of apps that will forward to you National Weather Service forecasts and alerts however most of them are simply vehicles to show you advertisements.   One we like the no-nonsense NWS-NOW app which has no advertising – just the weather. The app is not available in the google app store so you’ll have to go to and use the link there for the free download. It gives you current conditions, severe weather alerts, radar maps, a 7-day forecast, and hourly conditions, and for those that want to learn more about the weather – forecast discussions. One of the best features is that you can set it up to use your phone’s GPS location so where ever you may be you’ll know the weather.  Remember as with all applications go to the settings page and turn on the notifications you want and turn off those that you don’t want.

Now if you are like many that have a hardline phone in your home and don’t take your smartphone to bed with you consider purchasing a weather radio for your home.   There are many out there at different prices, the one we have experience with is the ones made by Midland such as the model WR120b which costs $35.00 on Amazon.    Whatever make or model you select make sure that it has S.A.M.E. (Specific Area Message Encoder) which allows the radio to stay silent until an alert is sent by the National Weather Service.  Most good radios will have options such as allowing you to select which alerts you want the radio to play out loud or not.    So you can have tornados turned on but wind alerts turned off if you want.   When you get your radio don’t forget to add your S.A.M.E. number to the receiver.  Our area number is 034009 and can be confirmed here.   Additionally, there are other ways you can be alerted of severe weather.   An example is a lightning detector which is a small device that can be worn on your belt when you are on the golf course or at the beach.  It will detect lightning within 25 miles,  counts the lightning strikes, and estimates the distance away the lightning is,  along with setting off an audible alarm.   The current model of the one that NWOEM provided several to lifeguards and public works is the Acu-Rite 02020 Portable Lightning Detector which costs around $42 on Amazon.   There are other makes and models out there with some that are more expensive make sure you compare the features and select the one best for you.    Don’t hesitate to have multiple ways you get notified of severe weather.    Redundancy assures that you get the alert no matter where you are and what you are doing.    If possible always try to get your information from the source as it will be the most up-to-date version of the weather forecast.

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.