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Planning for the Next One: Post Sandy Observations and Suggestions

A Matawan resident's opinion on how the town could better prepare for the next Sandy.

All these ideas may not be feasible but are certainly worth looking into. I am sure there are other ideas out there. So, please share them. The Matawan Police, Fire Department, First Aid Squad, Department of Public Works, mail carriers, good Samaritans and even Future Sanitation did remarkable jobs before, during and after the storm. Walgreens was a lifesaver too. Matawan can be proud of all the residents who showed up for the town hall meeting.  As furious and frustrated as everyone was, it was a relief that civility prevailed and a riot did not break out.

1) Auxiliary power for essential services

The most obvious shortcoming of the borough of Matawan was the lack of auxiliary power at the borough hall, police station and firehouses. Yes, it's going to cost money, but if Matawan residents are not willing to pay for it, shame on us. Maybe it's time for some supplemental solar power at these locations.

2) Postal notifications

Mailings with contact names and numbers, addresses of where to keep warm, get help, food, water, ice, etc. A gentleman brought this up at the Town Hall meeting. Facebook and the Patch are great, but not if you don't have internet access or power to get to the internet.

3) An informational whiteboard at the municipal center would also be great

4) Solar powered street lights

It wouldn't have to be all of them, but one every 500 feet or so would provide some safety and comfort at night in times of a total power failure.

5) An escalation task force

To escalate on behalf of the mayor and OEM issues such as major power outages to the utilities and the governor's office - a group to take names and kick some butt.

6) “Official” volunteers

To look in on the elderly and disabled in town that might not have anyone to check up on them.

7) A designated location where residents could bring downed limbs and trees where other residents could come and take to use as firewood.

8) A local comfort station/distribution location

It was advised at the town hall meeting, Matawan can not have one due to certain regulations. Let's demand and fight for one.

9) Coordination and cooperation between adjacent towns to share resources and information.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

George Dzurina November 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM
I think one of the biggest issues that we need to learn from is that each municipality just does not have the expertise to effectively respond to the immediate needs of the residents who need immediate help. This storm is an example as if we had a County Police Force the County Chief could of pulled the resources from the inland area's which would of had the resources readily available to provide the support we need in times of crisis. I hope Super Storm Sandy opens the eyes of all the residents of both Matawan & Aberdeen to realize that we need to start thinking "Out of Box" and we can just keep adding more resources and increasing taxes. We have all the resources we need they are just sitting behind desks. Between Matawan & Aberdeen we have (6) Superior Officiers for a total of around 50 patrolmen. If these departments where not paid by our taxes and run like a more professional or privately owned BUSINESS we would certainly not have UPPER MANAGEMENT types at a ratio of greater than 1 for 10 subordinates. This is a ROOT CAUSE of why New Jersey has the highest taxes in the country !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
George Dzurina November 13, 2012 at 12:39 AM
I really believe that the community should have a CERT. This idea would really help out in times like this. This type of idea is going to be very hard to organize as local municipalities would have to participate to make it work. I have over 20 years of experince dealing with Union's and there is no way the PBA is going to agree with anything like this. While it sounds like a great idea the PBA would fight it behind the scenes. Lets face it it will reduce the overtime their PO's recieve. Remember the PO's standing at the gas stations are not there volunteering. An effect CERT team could be expanded in the future and the PBA members know this. Any plan that will reduce the police forces OT is never going to be supported by the members or Cheif John Powers. When I worked in the Port of NJ & NY and it snowed the facility guys used to call the snow "WHITE GOLD" as they would make a fortune. People say the teachers unions is strong here in NJ but remember the PBA is so powerful that even thier own members need to issue thier families and freinds PBA cards to protect them from themselves.
George Dzurina November 13, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Hi Chelsea, I am gald to read your post and hope that Matawan & Aberdeen can work together in creating a joint CERT. This situation shows that Municipality's are not equipped or lack the knowledge to take action. This is a real problem here in NJ with over 520 municipalities. This means we have 520 Police Chiefs and Mayors who are not capable of providing the support when the public really needs it most. All the Municipalities here in NJ would benefit from some type of regionalization. This would enable each County to have the resources when they are needed most. What we really need is to combine these two police departments as each department has plenty of UPPER MAnagement types with (6) Superior Officiers between them we could add probably 5 or 6 more patrolman and put them out on the streets where the PO's are needed. The duplication of services that are being provided is wasteful and costing the residents of both Aberdeen & Matawan a fortune with our tax rate being one of the higest in the USA. I must of seen 20 interviews of people on TV from the Carolina's and it seemed like they all are retired NJ policeman. Another thing we should remember is these highly paid Unuonized workers get automatic raises based on their years of employment. They do not have to get reviewed on a annual basis or have a peformance review prior to getting there annual guaranteed raises. ...
Susan Bergman November 13, 2012 at 02:08 PM
I do not understand this total lack of concern on part of the officials at Aberdeen. The few messages that they transmitted were on the Internet. Hello. I guess they did not know that there was NO POWER. Welcome to MABERRY RFD. A proper response would be for the $5,000,000 useless police force was to drive through each block with a bullhorn public announcement about help that is available. Please consolidate police of Aberdeen and Matawan now and save us this big waste of money.
Anthony T. November 13, 2012 at 02:39 PM
I am in agreement here. I've gone computer-less at home, I don't own a smart phone, and I know my elderly neighbors do not have either as well. Yet every reverse 911 call I got from Matawan and Aberdeen instructed me to go to a website or even worse, Facebook page (not even a resource on the town's own official site!). This is unacceptable. I'm not saying a patrol vehicle should necessarily go around with a bullhorn, but if the town can call me with a reverse 911 call, THEY SHOULD GIVE ME ALL PERTINENT INFORMATION IN THE MESSAGE. Even worse the services at Aberdeen Municipal Building was closed, the building running on generator power from what I understand, yet the whole building was lit up. I understand having the police quarters up and running but with the other sections need to be lit if they were closed? That was a waste.

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