River Edge Learns from Sandy for Future Storms
Borough officials seek to learn from Sandy on better communications during power outages
While there were no reported injuries from Hurricane Sandy battering its way through River Edge, borough officials struggled with communicating once the town went dark. Now the town will begin looking at ways for better preparation in advance of any future storms.
"We found there were some communication issues," OEM Coordinator Tom Smith said. "We thought we had a variety of ways to reach residents like NIXLE, but not everyone is set up with it. We couldn't keep the internet or phones on in the building so our communication to the residents fell apart. There are some boost type devices to give a boost to our internet signal that should eliminate that."
One thing the borough may look into is the purchase of a "God" system to replace the fire sirens. The system would allow the borough to broadcast voice messages across town through a PA system.
"It may be something we need to look into and explore," Councilman Alphonse Bartelloni said. "It's costly but it may be something worthwhile."
Prior to Sandy hitting the region, both the DPW building and garage along with Fire Company 2 were sandbagged as both locations are prone to water damage. This year, neither building suffered flooding after being impacted by Irene and the 2007 Nor'easter.
From Oct. 29 through Nov. 5, the River Edge Fire Department responded to 92 calls. According to Fire Chief John Mauthe, many of the calls received were CO2 based as residents placed generators inside garages or near open windows.
"As the power came back on, those were starting to subside," Mauthe said.
But what the borough could not prepare for in advance was wind gusts upwards of 50mph taking down approximately 70 trees. According to DPW Superintendent, 14 trees fell on houses, 10 trees became tangled in electrical wires, 31 trees that blocked streets and sidewalks, and another eight that had to be removed as they were leaning heavily.
"I'm extremely proud of the hardwork and devotion the department showed during the emergency," Lynch said. "They worked during the storm, hurricane winds and rain and never once complained or asked to go somewhere. Their support is amazing and I could not do it without their help."
The pivot arm on the five-yard dump truck snapped and is now out of commission. While scheduled to be replaced in 2014, estimated repair costs range between $3,000 to $5,000.
The Veteran's Memorial Park camp office sustained damage when a tree fell on part of the roof as well as two head walls on Elm Avenue were cracked.