Checklist That Helps Towns Prepare for ‘Sandy-style’ Calamity Issued by Rutgers’ Center for Government Services
NEW BRUNSWICK – Last December, 30 municipal managers, many from towns battered by Hurricane Sandy and the November Nor’ Easter, gathered in New Brunswick to share experiences and lessons learned from dealing with two of the most devastating natural disasters in New Jersey history.
In that forum, sponsored by Rutgers’ Center for Government Services (CGS), participants candidly discussed their towns’ responses to the myriad and colossal problems and issues created by these historic storms and their aftermath.
The peer-group discussions and recommendations from that day were collected and distilled in a new pamphlet published this month by CGS for state and municipal leaders. Entitled, “Lessons Learned: Reflecting Upon Hurricane Sandy and the November Nor-Easter,” the publication provides a detailed checklist for preparing for, dealing with, and recovering from future “Sandy-style” disasters.
The publication is divided into three sections: “Before: The Calm Before the Storm,” “During: 9-1-1 What’s Your Emergency?” and “After: Picking up the Pieces.” Each offers a series of tasks and recommendations in three key areas: planning, communication and leadership.
Alan Zalkind, director of CGS, said the December discussion focused on four critical areas: emergency planning, communication/information, networking and leadership – areas with which the forum participants would be integrally involved.
“The perspective of New Jersey’s professional municipal managers encompasses the complexity of all local services and systems,” Zalkind said. “Rutgers believed that these professional managers have unique knowledge and experience about responding to emergency disasters that is worth hearing about, a perspective not often heard from nor solicited.”
The December discussion was led by four municipal managers: Ralph Blakeslee of Netcong, David Breeden of Barnegat and Ocean, Ray Codey of Madison and Terry Reidy of Asbury Park.
“The resulting checklist reflects the suggestions and insights of municipal managers, experts in handling both day-to-day and extraordinary crises,” Zalkind said. “It provides suggestions about what towns can do before, during and after a storm.”
The pamphlet has been distributed to all New Jersey mayors, municipal managers, state legislators and U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez. It also is available for free on the CGS website.