In the aftermath a gas shortage tested patience and frayed nerves, and just when things seemed at their tipping point, improvements and restorations began to stem the tide of discord and normalcy crept back into our lives. But the mark of that time in the dark remains.
“It’s a reminder that all of the things, the material things that we have, can quickly be taken,” said Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty. “All of those pictures and memories that you collect throughout your life can be so washed away in a storm like Sandy. The impact is going to be felt for years in New Jersey.”
Dougherty said one of the lasting impressions from the storm was the citizens emergency response team.
“I’m grateful we have a strong community,” Dougherty said. “As a result of a devastating storm came an unbelievable group people known as cert volunteers. It makes our community very special that if disaster strikes there are people on the ground ready to go door to door to help out.”
The Morristown CERT team covers that geographical area of Morristown and Morris Township but volunteers do not necessarily need to live within the city limits. If you live in a neighboring town you can also search the national CERT database for a team that may be closer to you.
Those with questions can e-mail the Morristown CERT team at email@example.com.
Since the storm, changes have been made to the status quo,
The much-maligned Jersey Central Power & Light completed a partnership deal with a local electrical trade union to provide damage assessment and public safety resources to help speed the service restoration process following a severe storm or other major event.
“This will allow residents to sign up to get an e-mail when certain things are updated on the site,” Business Administrator Timothy Quinn said. “If they want pool news, that is what they will get. But they also can be notified when agendas and minutes are posted. Things like that.”
Quinn also said when emergencies occur it will be easier for residents to get information.
“It will allow us to communicate during emergency situations like our annual 100-year storm,” Quinn said.
Beyond governing bodies and utilities, private citizens were galvanized by Sandy. Democratic candidate for the Morris Township Committee Cathy Wilson said dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy is one of the reasons she decided to run for office.
“After the trauma of having no power for 12 days and no information about when it would be restored, working with electrical outage issues has become a passion for me. I helped to found a citizens action group Citizens for Reliable Electricity in Morris Township (CREMT),” Wilson said.
According to Wilson, CREMT’s mission is improved results fewer outages, shorter duration, better communication.
Morris Plains continues to pick up the pieces after the storm, as Mayor Frank Druetzler said the borough qualified for state money to replace fallen trees.
“This was a lot of work put into this,” Druetzler said, noting that the reimbursement will come after the borough replaces the fallen foliage. “But we are very pleased to have it coming to us.”
At last week’s Morristown Council meeting Dougherty took time out to give certificates of appreciation to all of those who went above and beyond in the aftermath of Sandy, but he also acknowledged that this area got lucky in comparison to other parts of the state.
“My heart is with the people displaced at the shore who are still dealing with this. Some of them are still out of their homes and they may never get back,” Dougherty said. “My thoughts and prayers are with them. They haven’t been forgotten by this mayor and my office is available and we are always willing to help. If people reach out we will respond.”
Dougherty said that the storm changed the lives of so many people forever and that all of the changes being made and those still to come are necessary.
“You have to hope those types of storms don’t come again,” Dougherty said. But as the Governor said 100 times we have to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.”