SEA ISLE CITY - During the extreme foul weather experienced by east-coast
communities last winter, many property owners learned that you can not be too
prepared for emergencies. In Sea Isle City, where preparedness is a very serious
topic, the municipality has taken further steps to avoid complications that can
arise during blizzards, nor'easters and tidal floods - better preparing the
island resort for serious weather and other critical events.
According to Sea Isle City Police Chief Thomas D'Intino, the City has recently acquired a new emergency response vehicle that can drive through high levels of snow and water. The former military truck now affords local first-responders better access to areas that were previously inaccessible during floods and other extreme weather conditions.
"Last winter proved to be very challenging for most people and many community's resources were tapped," said D'Intino, who has been chief for two years and also heads Sea Isle City's Office of Emergency Management. "Our new truck will be a huge asset when severe weather limits our mobility. It is now unlikely that we will need to ask the National Guard for help in the future, which many communities are forced to do during bad floods and extreme weather. This truck is definitely a plus!"
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The City's newly-acquired 2.5 ton truck (AKA: "a deuce and a half") is a fully refurbished military transporter that was purchased from the Eastern Surplus and Equipment Company in Philadelphia. The M-35 cargo vehicle has been modified to suit the municipality's specific needs. It features interior fittings that accommodate medical gear and gurneys, a water-tight cabin and cargo bed, and the ability to drive through more than three feet of standing water. During an emergency, the M-35 will be staffed with two police officers, two firefighters and two emergency medical technicians, allowing the City to quickly respond with efficiency to any urgent situation.
"Our first responders work very well together, with great cooperation," said D'Intino, who also oversees the City's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). "Our CERT team is trained in first aid and they have the basic knowledge needed during an emergency. CERT members are always available and serve as extra eyes for our Office of Emergency Management. They also help us by fielding the many phone calls we receive from property owners during emergencies, which alleviates our dispatcher's heavy work load and helps share information more quickly."
Sea Isle City also has two existing systems for sharing urgent information which have been very well-received by the public and will continue to be put to good use in the future. In recent years, the city's "email alert system" has efficiently informed home owners about dangerous weather and surf conditions and also has made the public aware of road construction and other timely facts. The City's "reverse 911" system can relay recorded phone messages to 5600 home owners in two hours. Anyone wanting to sign-up for either can do so by visiting the City's website: www.seaislecitynj.us.
"Being able to share important information is critical during an emergency, and the public needs to heed all warnings," added the Chief. "People also need to be aware of basic everyday facts, such as not driving though water and how to prepare emergency supply kits. There are steps every homeowner should take to better prepare themselves and their properties for emergencies."
To help spread the word about preparedness, Sea Isle's CERT team has created a free brochure, titled One Way Out - Leave Early, which defines the resort's evacuation routes, how to prepare boats for foul weather, information about the City's siren alert system and much more. It is available at the Sea Isle City Public Safety Building, 233 JFK Boulevard.
"We encourage all residents and visitors to be as informed and prepared as possible," added D'Intino.
To contact Sea Isle City's Office of Emergency Management, phone (609) 263-0097. To contact the Cape May County Office of Emergency Management, phone (609) 463-6570.