Sunday, October 28, 2012

Freeholders: Declaration of Emergency for Ocean County


FREEHOLDER DIRECTOR Gerry P. Little and Sheriff William L. Polhemus issued a Declaration of Emergency for Ocean County early this afternoon as Hurricane Sandy prepares to batter the entire region.

"This is a very dangerous storm and we are asking anyone asked to evacuate to do so as quickly as possible," Polhemus said.

The county Declaration of Emergency is in addition to the state declaration already signed by Gov. Chris Christie and allows the county and its 33 municipalities to "take any and all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of residents and visitors."

Little said he was on the phone with Gov. Christie and his cabinet members for about 30 minutes late Sunday morning.

"If you have been ordered to evacuate, please try to find safe refuge with friends or family," Little said. "If that is not possible, regional and municipal shelters are now open."

Regional shelters opened at Pinelands Middle School in Little Egg Harbor, Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin and the Pine Belt Arena at Toms River High School North in Toms River Township.

Barnegat and Waretown are operating a joint shelter at the Brackman Middle School in Barnegat Township. Jackson Township has opened a municipal shelter at Jackson Liberty High School.

"I can not stress how important it is to heed the evacuation orders," said Chief Michael G. Osborn of the Ocean County Sheriff's Department. "If you chose to wait and find yourself in trouble during the height of the storm, emergency responders may be unable to reach you."

The Ocean County Emergency Operations Center at the Robert J. Miller Airpark in Berkeley Township activated at 8 am today, although Emergency Management officials have been on duty preparing for the storm since late last week, Osborn said.

As of Sunday afternoon, forecasters were still calling for Sandy to make landfall near or along the New Jersey Coast sometime late on Monday.

"We are expecting severe - maybe record - tidal flooding along the bay, especially during the lunar high tide Monday evening," Osborn said. "The full moon will make a bad situation even worse."

Severe beach erosion, stream and river flooding and downed trees with widespread power outages are also expected.

Little said all county agencies are mobilized for the storm.

"Our Road Department will have crews out ready to clear debris and close any roads deemed hazardous because of flooding or falling trees and power lines," Little said. "Our Department of Human Services and Health Department will also be ready to assist residents whenever possible."

Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety, advised residents to keep up to date with the storm at the County's website at

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