North Wildwood’s Emergency Preparedness website

106, 2020

Hurricane Season Resource List

Starting today June 1st and continuing through November 30th is the Atlantic Hurricane Season and with this year’s predictions from various sources calling for an above average Hurricane season we are taking this time to post some points for you to consider regarding preparedness and monitoring the weather.

Starting with preparedness – Some of the things that our recent pandemic illustrates is that FEMA is a back up service to state and local governments and most importantly preparedness is a continuing process.     For example many organizations did not have N95 masks and to wait to get some from FEMA or they had masks and other supplies that were stock piled when the Avian Flu appeared in the early 2000’s and they found many of rubber components failed.  Nobody wants to open sealed boxes but had they checked their supplies regularly they would have been better prepared.   When food or other supplies have expiration dates it is important to make note of them, also other supplies and equipment that don’t have expiration dates should be marked with a date and checked at least annually.   Rubber along with other synthetic materials degenerate with exposure to air, sunlight, and time.

As we have pointed out before on this website no level of government can have enough shelters, supplies and equipment to cover everyone in the area so community preparedness is only as good as collective preparedness of the individuals in the community.   Preparedness begins at home.  Below are some of the locations where you can find information on preparations needed for various events.

(1) https://ready.northwildwood.com   This link will take you to the “Be Prepared” page of this website which contains links for the Hurricane Survival Guide, Evacuation Routes,  New Jersey Ready website,  National Ready website , Tsunami, Winter storm, Tornado, CDC Emergency Preparedness information and lastly the link for NJ Register Ready is New Jersey’s Special Needs Registry for Disasters.

(2) The NWOEM Brochure link on the left hand side of this page will take you to a .pdf copy of the brochure that North Wildwood Office of Emergency Management put together several years ago.  Copies are available at the City Clerks office if you need a hard copy.

A key to any effective preparedness is to have a general idea when you will need to use the things you collected to be prepared.  Weather is our largest concern when it comes to frequency and damages.   One good thing about weather is that it is monitored by the National Weather Service which generates weather forecasts.  Even the unexpected tornado or flooding from rain has some advanced notice.  Below we list some of the weather resources that we check regularly.   We hope that you make it a daily habit to check the weather.

(1) National Weather Service forecast for North Wildwood    This link will take you to the 7 day forecast for North Wildwood.    The key things to pay attention to is a red bar with the words Hazardous Weather Conditions with links under it for the Hazardous Weather Outlook and any other hazardous weather such as thunderstorms warnings, rip tides, flooding, etc.   You need to click on the link which takes you to the text based forecast which spells out what to expect.   This is where you find tide heights in flood watches, and rain fall amounts.   Those that want to learn more check out the portion of the page marked “Additional Forecasts and Information” area where you find the forecast discussion and other information in detail.

(2) As Weather systems in the United States generally move from West to East it is helpful to see what the weather is on a map of the United States.  One of the best ways to check the nations weather is to check the National Weather Service Daily Briefing.   In addition to the national weather map the Daily Briefing is full of information and links to other weather resources.

(3) The National Hurricane Center  is the website to check whenever there is a report of tropical weather forming.   The NHC is the source of all hurricane forecasting that all the other weather reporters use.   Remember to click on the tropical depression or storm to get detailed information on wind speeds, storm direction and future projections.

(4) While the National Hurricane Center shows their official forecast a website that shows all the forecast models that are taken into consideration when weather forecasts are made is Tropical Tidbits.  On the top of the page are links for current storms, forecast models, etc.  Much of the stuff is forecast models not a final forecast – Models are the consensus of a group of weather forecasters believe will take place.   From the models you can understand why we may get weather different than what the local forecaster is calling for.    For Hurricanes you will see various paths a hurricane may take and when several of the models are close to each other then most likely that will be the final path.  Tropical Tidbits is can also be used for all weather as you can put a model into actions showing predicted rain or snow coming our way.    The website has a lot of information and after you get used to using it you will be able to have the heads up on possible future weather which aids in preparedness.

(5) The next is Windy.com   is a website that has a lot of features, many of which are on the Tropical Tidbits website however everything is in interactive graphics.  It will take a little while to get used to the page as there is many of layers of information that is available which can be turned on or off.    Once you are comfortable with using the website you can then get future weather by using the slider at the bottom of the page and you can select different forecast models on the lower right side.

There are other website out there that you might like better.  If you only want the forecast for our area then stick to the local National Weather Service Forecast.  It is clear and simple  however if you want to get a better understanding of the weather take a few moments and check out the other websites.   For real time alerts consider a Weather Radio  or Weather APP for your smart phone.

1305, 2020

North Wildwood Preparedness / Awareness Week

North Wildwood’s Preparedness / Awareness Week usually is held in mid-April but this year due to the pandemic it was postponed until now.   Preparedness / Awareness Week is being observed Monday –  May 18th to Friday May 22nd, 2020.  The week is a time where all municipal departments review their preparedness for disaster or emergency events prior to Hurricane Season.  During this week the Office of Emergency Management and other departments will be posting tips on their respective Facebook Pages on preparedness and information on the municipal warning systems, such as Code Red Emergency Notification System, 1640 AM Radio Station and the Warning Sirens to help the public be more aware of these systems which is the Awareness part of the week. On Wednesday May 20th at 11AM there will be a test of the Tornado Siren.   Prior to that on Tuesday and Wednesday at 10AM the OEM will be sending a City Wide Code Red Message about the siren test.   It is a time to see if you are receiving Code Red Messages.  More information will be posted Code Red Messages, who gets them, how to register, etc. will be posted on the OEM Facebook page  https://www.facebook.com/NWEmergencyManagement/ on Monday to start the week off.   The Facebook page will be updated daily during the week with different information the warning systems and preparedness.    A week ago it was Hurricane Preparedness Week and we posted daily information on what to do to be prepared for a hurricane.    We ask that all residents take a moment this week to ask themselves to check their personal preparedness plans and check their personal equipment – one example is getting the hip boots out of the closet and see if they are still in good shape, etc.

2503, 2020

Coronavirus COVID-19 Lessons Learned and Informative Links

With every situation there are always lessons learned.  With the stay-at-home order issued to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) there are plenty of lessons to be learned that will help in other situations.  In Emergency Management we often look for the similarities with other situations for ideas to solve problems, for example,  traffic counts of vehicles leaving the County per hour after a busy holiday weekend tells us how long lead time we need to evacuate a specific amount of people from the county for a hurricane or to know shelter capabilities in the winter we can look at the 2010 Ice Storm where electric was out for three to seven days.    By posting on our Facebook page the Water by the numbers updates we hope that many of you that live in flood prone areas take note of water heights and the corresponding flooded areas so when a forecast gives a expected tide height you know where to park your car.    With every situation whether emergency or daily routine one should take a moment to step back and take a look to see if you can do it better, of if you do it more efficiently,  expense wise was it the best value and lastly was the task really necessary (are you doing the task because of habit or need).

Getting back to sheltering in place or stay at home what can be learned?  Did you have enough food and medications?   What are you short of?   What would like to have more of?  Take a few minutes and create a pantry and freezer plan where you have a base amount of food supplies on hand and when you use something you add it to your shopping list.

Lessons learned from the Coronavirus will change things for years to come.    More people maybe working from home after they tried it.   More students might take online courses.  More people might do their food shopping from home and have it delivered once they try it.    Hospitals and the medical community will be better prepared for the future for unexpected mass events.    Visiting the doctors office via the internet may be the norm for non-emergencies.   Take the time to learn some lessons.

Here are some important COVID-19 Links:

New Jersey’s COVID-19 Website

https://covid19.nj.gov/

New Jersey Homeland Security Website on rumor and disinformation

https://www.njhomelandsecurity.gov/covid19

New Jersey Department of Health  Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth/

Cape May County Health Department Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/CapeMayCountyDepartmentofHealth/

United States COVID-19 Website

https://www.coronavirus.gov/

Center for Disease Control (CDC) Website

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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)

codered1

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.