The Mayor of Fort Lee says borough officials are about as prepared as they can be for the arrival and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, having begun planning about five days ago when it became apparent that the storm was likely to significantly impact the area.
But he also warned residents to take the storm very seriously and stay inside.
Sokolich said Fort Lee officials and crews have cleaned sewers, trimmed trees and removed as many leaves as possible over the last several days. The borough has also invested in additional generators and equipment to pump residents out should that become necessary.
Sokolich said all of the borough’s emergency service agencies have extra staffing working, and that an emergency command center, which brings them all together in one place with Sokolich, DPW, engineering and building crews, is “fully operational.”
“If we need to deal with an issue, everyone is dealing with it concurrently,” Sokolich said.
However he also said the “most important” thing officials are asking of residents is to stay inside and off the roads if possible.
“Today, tonight, tomorrow, tomorrow night is not a time for sightseers; it’s not a time for curiosity seekers,” Sokolich said Monday. “Typically I say prepare for the worst and hope for the best, but unfortunately it would appear that this is a very real storm. All models and all indications are that there is going to be damage. It’s going to be dangerous.”
Sokolich added that residents should “expect blackouts,” although those will be “out of our jurisdiction.”
Other things Sokolich emphasized to Fort Lee residents Monday include the following:
- Only use 911 for emergencies; not for updates on the storm
- Crews will be out working with live wires, removing trees and clearing debris so people should stay off the roads.
“You’re going to put yourself in harm’s way,” Sokolich said. “Equally as problematic is that you’re going to put our folks in harm’s way also.”
- If you see a tree blocking a roadway it most likely involves live wires or “other extenuating circumstances”
“Understand that there’s a reason why, and we’re going to get to it,” he said.
Sokolich also said residents with special needs, including those who are not ambulatory, on oxygen, very sick or physically disabled, should be aware that “we know you.”
“We know where you are,” Sokolich said. “We know what your needs are, and we will attend to you if you need our service.”
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