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Hurricane Sandy: Don't Wait to Prepare, Mayor Says

Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty, Police Capt. Steven Sarinelli, other officials held Sunday press conference at Town Hall.

Morristown's mayor called several times for residents to practice common sense during the duration of Hurricane Sandy.

"We need to take this storm very seriously," Tim Dougherty said during a late Sunday afternoon press conference from Morristown's Office of Emergency Management epicenter, the basement of Town Hall. "Don't wait to react, tomorrow it's going to be on."

Dougherty said all departments had been called to work, including fire, police, health and public works, and would be working until the hurricane reached its "recovery" phase.

The mayor also said, besides having state and local conference calls, he had been in contact with JCP&L, which he said has dropped about 500 tons of sandbags at its substations from here through to South Jersey, which current projections indicate will be getting the brunt of this weather event.

"They seem to be completely ready for this storm," Dougherty said.

That said, given much of the ire raised toward the utility company last year following Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm, the mayor noted people should not expect JCP&L crews to be up on power lines in repair mode when a storm is surging all around them.

"Don't expect JCP&L to come out right away," Dougherty said. "They're not going to be out there [at the height of the storm.] We have to be patient."

One comment made by JCP&L, the mayor said, was for people to prepare to be without power "for seven to 10 days."

Morristown Police Capt. Steven Sarinelli said the town has been in "prep phase" for several days already, but, "people have to be self-sustaining," he said.

"The public has to realize we can't do everything," Dougherty said.

Mennen Arena, in Morris Township, was opened at 5 p.m. Sunday as a county emergency shelter. Shelters in Morristown at Town Hall and Morristown High School would be opened on an as-needed basis, Sarinelli said. Those in need of shelter or know of someone who needs to be taken there should contact the town OEM at 973-292-4884. If unable to call, "no one will be turned away," the police captain said. The town OEM also now has a Facebook page set up for those who get their information that way.

Additionally, information will be available at 973-796-1911. An information booth also is expected to be set up in the lobby of Town Hall in the event of power loss.

Dougherty again emphasized common sense, noting he had personally seen people raking leaves onto the street—despite numerous calls for keeping storm drains clear—on Sunday. "If they're not paying attention, they might not realize the severity of this," he said, adding that any outdoor furniture or Halloween decorations should be secured or removed immediately. "Don't wait until tomorrow to be prepared."

As for Morristown's downtown Trick-or-Event event scheduled for Wednesday, the mayor said, "as of now it's still on."

For the next few days, just about everything is on a "to-be-determined" basis. But, town officials said they are up to the challenge.

"We're prepared. We're ready," Dougherty said.

Dr. William Gluckman October 28, 2012 at 10:20 PM
I hope JCP&L has been as pro-active smart as the Morris County Emergency Management and local law enforcement...and I don't mean by sending in a bunch of trucks from other states that sit around waiting for a dispatcher to tell them what to do when they see issues right in front of them. Their service has been pathetic and they never seem to learn from previous lessons. The Morristown area should not suffer another set of 7 day power outages this time around.
Bonnie Arnold Haynes October 28, 2012 at 11:53 PM
Sounds like Town Hall has already given them a pass. Imagine telling regular old people like us that we need to be proactive and self sustaing until these utility hogs can get there. It would be nice to see our elected officials taking more of a "make it happen," attitude towards jcp&l. Even better, MAKE IT HAPPEN NOW.
Mother Morristown October 29, 2012 at 12:17 AM
"Don't expect JCP&L to come out right away". Well, something is wrong here. I'm tired of these excuses. If JCP&L can't handle the load, they should have hired more workers. The Mayor should not let residents be the brunt of corporate profits.
Roots Waiter October 29, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Was this press conference at Roots Steak House?
MetsFan October 29, 2012 at 04:27 AM
I think they just mean that JCP&L can't send people out in the midst of a storm to repair power, putting their employees at risk. That seems sensible. I was surprised at some of the huge piles of leaves I saw on Washington Ave just before Burnham Park. That's a storm drain block waiting to happen.
CSS October 29, 2012 at 06:12 AM
Hello all, I thought it might be a nice idea to give Morristown and Morris Township residents an expanded forum to share information regarding Sandy. I'm hoping for a few things - having a nice (and mobile-friendly) interface to share what's open in the coming days, what JCP&L is up to near you, and most importantly an area where people can ask for and offer assistance to their neigbhors. Please have a look: http://motown.hostcompanion.com/ John, if this is not allowed, please say so. If you can look the other way, please do. I don't intend to compete, just wanted a temporary place to connect with my neighbors. We intend to shut this down for posting after everything is back to normal - promise!
les hell October 29, 2012 at 07:59 AM
Everyone understand this, it could be worse...are u a katarina victim water hippo bloated for weeks til rescue squads (or sean penn) pulls your sour stink from the passing water? stop nickpicking govermental & public entities , get a pair & survive

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