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Evacuation Shelter At High School North Now Open

Toms River establishes emergency hotline for Hurricane Irene

’s Pine Belt Arena will open 8 a.m. Friday as a shelter for evacuees of Hurricane Irene.

Formerly known as the Poland Spring Arena at the Ritacco Center, the arena will be set up as a Red Cross emergency shelter.

Toms River also has an emergency hotline for the storm: 732-818-9901.

Residents can call the number for the latest information from the township Office of Emergency Management.

Voluntary Evacuation of Ortley Beach, barrier island

This evening, of the barrier island sections of Toms River and other shorelines was strongly urged.

Toms River OEM Coordinator Paul Daley said residents should plan now to leave the area before the storm hits.

“Whatever you can do, do it now,” Daley said. “Heed the warnings. Do not wait.”

Each resident should have a hurricane preparedness plan, he said, and tips can be found on www.ready.gov.

“The next 24 to 36 hours are going to be critical,” Daley said.

At this point, the voluntary evacuation focuses on the barrier island communities of Ortley Beach, Dover Beaches, Pelican Island and the neighboring towns of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights. Voluntary evacuation signs flash in the free parking lot of Seaside Heights and at the entrance to Ortley Beach, urging people to evacuate and stay informed and prepare for the storm during the governors statewide state of emergency.

Friday morning

Long Beach Island will have a mandatory evacuation beginning 8 a.m. tomorrow, with Route 72 eastbound Causeway bridge closed.

The Route 37 bridge to Seaside could convert into a westbound traffic flow to accommodate a mass exodus from the barrier island, Daley said. But he said a large percentage of the barrier island population has already left for inland accommodations.

Anyone requiring shelter can make their way to the Pine Belt Arena at High School North, on Bey Lea Road (Route 571) and Old Freehold Road after 8 a.m. Friday.

Daley said that tomorrow morning, the OEM team will meet to see if the voluntary evacuation is upgraded to a mandatory evacuation of Toms River shorelines.

The progression from there should the storm prove even more severe would be a voluntary evacuation of the mainland Toms River, specifically flood prone areas of East Dover along Fischer Boulevard and the Bayshore, or of the Silverton and Green Island sections along the Silver Bay, Daley said.

Gov. Chris Christie has suspended tolls on the Garden State Parkway south of the Raritan River as of 8 a.m. Friday to accommodate evacuations.


Seek shelter inland

The main evacuation corridor for the barrier island is the Tunney Bridge from Seaside over Route 37. Daley also said the Mantoloking Bridge is another means of exodus off the island.

In addition, Route 70 is a coastal evacuation route.

Daley urged that however you get there, chose the option furthest inland when deciding where to take shelter.

He said eastern residents should first reach out to inland friends and family, or even hotel accommodations. The High School North shelter will be there regardless, but “the arena isn’t exactly as comfy as staying elsewhere,” he said.

The High School North shelter will accommodate pet owners to bring their pets, Daley said.

Spreading the message

The dozens of homeowners associations of the barrier island neighborhoods and condominiums were all notified by Toms River police as a way to distribute information to neighborhoods, Daley said.

“We’ve been in touch homeowners associations,” he said. “They know to leave, they’ve been through things like this before.”

He said the barrier island is well versed in the storm preparedness, but that often holdouts wait until the storm closes in to seek help.

“Particularly with the senior communities, we may have additional steps to help those who have mobility issues,” Daley said. “We have a list of people we check in on to make sure they have the assistance they need. We’ve already begun making those calls to plan for their safety.”

The township's Reverse 911 system is activated to alert residents, and Daley said radio station WOBM 92.7 will serve as an emergency broadcast station.

Judith Herse August 26, 2011 at 02:35 AM
where are the shelters for Brick need to know before there is no electiricity and no way to know
Shawn Smith August 26, 2011 at 02:57 AM
Judith, It looks like Brick Patch will be posting a list of shelters on this story: http://brick.patch.com/articles/brick-neighborhoods-asked-to-evacuate
Carol Aller August 26, 2011 at 03:49 AM
Who do you contact if you would like to volunteer at the shelter?
Dev Durer August 26, 2011 at 04:40 AM
I know this may seem like a silly question but, exactly how mandatory is a mandatory evacuation? No one can force me to leave my home right? The government websites has been vague on this topic. Don't get me wrong, I'm not hanging around either way but I'm curious.
suz August 26, 2011 at 11:01 AM
Oops...sorry we are not all as smart (ass) as you.
BN August 26, 2011 at 12:34 PM
If you don' evacuate you have waived the right to expect to be protected/rescued by the authorities. If your children are harmed or die, you may be facing multiple charges for that too since it is no longer and act of GOD because you refused to evacuate.
1stcav August 26, 2011 at 01:03 PM
Don't be stupid, hard headed or macho if told to leave..pack your stuff and leave. NO ONE is risking there life to come save you when you were warned and told to leave and YOU choose not too !!! Some have posted they call SSH or SP and had NO transportation to leave and has heard nothing yet ???? What's up with that ???? Anyone have an answer for these people ????? This is NOT N.O. La. is it , no way to leave or evacuate this situation, neen info: NOW for these people !!!!Please comment if you know how to HELP !!!!! NOW !
Carol Aller August 26, 2011 at 01:15 PM
Mandatory mean that no one will come for you if you refuse to leave once the order is given. BTW-Verizon has been trying to phase out land lines however it is common knowledge that land line phones will be the only phones that will work if the power goes out. Cordless phones won't when there is no power of course, but cells phones will probably be useless too even if fuller charged. They were useless during Hurricane Katrina and 9/11 and they were useless on Tuesday during the earthquake. FYI- The numbers for Ocean County Emergency Management are 732-341-3451 or 800-331-8152. Stay safe everyone!
Carol Aller August 26, 2011 at 01:39 PM
Seaside Park will be meeting with other towns this morning at 10:00 to decide what they wil be mandating to everyone. Don't know why they are waiting until then, but they are. At last night's council meeting they said to listen to the local radio stations and local TV stations. I've also offered to volunteer ...WE WILL NEED as many volunteers as possible if it gets as bad as they say...but no one has gotten back to me! I guess they only want help that we have to pay!?? What about the elderly that have no way to come over here to the shelter? They don't need people to drive them? I "heard" that towns don't want to be "liable" if they utilize volunteers. Huh? What has this world come to? Also, don't bother calling that Verizon number in an Emergency. Waste of time.
leann barling August 26, 2011 at 04:47 PM
Where can I go worth pets? Toms river area residents?
leann barling August 26, 2011 at 04:47 PM
*with a dog
Carol Aller August 26, 2011 at 04:50 PM
As far as I know, you can bring your pets. Or call the EMG hot line ...732-818-9901.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) August 26, 2011 at 05:11 PM
Toms River North shelter will accommodate pets. There is room for 300 pets set aside.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) August 26, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Mandatory Evacuation of Barrier Island at 4 p.m. - Toms River, http://patch.com/A-l1Fk
Shawn Smith August 26, 2011 at 06:34 PM
The shelter is set up in the Pine Belt Arena, ask for Helen Ferraro or Barbara Ward
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