Mayor Cory Booker advices about Hurricane Irene
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Mayor Cory Booker advices about Hurricane Irene

August 26, 2011, 1:21 pm
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Residents should have first-aid kits, flash lights, batteries, food and any important papers, such as a social security card, birth certificate and insurance information, in a to-go kit as a precaution
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Mayor Cory A. Booker,  Business Administrator Julien X. Neals, Esq., Newark Emergency Management and Domestic Preparedness Director Keith Isaac, Fire Director Fateen A. Ziyad, Police Director Samuel A. DeMaio, Fire Chief John Centanni, and Police Chief Sheilah A. Coley announced today that Governor Christie declared a “State of Emergency” for New Jersey yesterday. As the City of Newark prepares for Hurricane Irene, which is expected to hit New Jersey on Saturday at a Category 1 Level, city officials urge residents to take precautions and be prepared with a family emergency plan.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says that emergency personnel are preparing all along the coast. High tides, wide-spread flooding, and 74 to 100 mile an hour wind gusts are expected. Irene is the first hurricane to seriously threaten the United States in three years.
The City of Newark will open temporary shelters for persons displaced from their homes by the hurricane’s fury, tomorrow, Saturday, August 27, at 6 p.m. The shelters are located at Barringer High School (90 Parker Street), Central High School (246 18th Avenue ), East Side High School (238 Van Buren Street), Malcolm X Shabazz High School (80 Johnson Avenue), West Side High School (403 South Orange Avenue), and the John F. Kennedy Recreation Center (211 West Kinney Street, entrance on Howard Street).
“Newark is ready for Hurricane Irene. Our own emergency operations team is working on securing shelters, emergency response equipment and making sure, if the storm hits, we’re ready. My administration’s top priority is to make sure residents are prepared. Natural disasters can strike anyone, anywhere, at anytime. I urge Newark residents to learn how to protect themselves and their families by following the safety instructions provided by the city,” said Mayor Booker.
In addition, the City’s Non-Emergency Call Center has gone on 24-hour manning, and will remain on duty until further notice. Residents can report hurricane-related incidents or concerns to (973) 733-4311.  For continuous information on hurricane safety tips and updates, residents can also tune to NWK-TV, Channel 78, the City’s Government Access Channel.
The Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is the City of Newark’s lead agency in planning for and responding to man-made or natural disasters that may impact the City of Newark and its residents, ranging from hurricanes to hazmat spills. It unites resources and agencies for planning, prevention, and preparedness, directs the response to events when warranted, and oversees recovery efforts.
“We are working around the clock with local, private, and public partners and our county, in addition to state and federal agencies to protect Newark’s citizens from the threat of this storm. We urge Newark residents to develop their own family emergency plans. Residents should have first-aid kits, flash lights, batteries, food and any important papers, such as a social security card, birth certificate and insurance information, in a to-go kit as a precaution,” Director Isaac said. “The precautions taken today might save the lives of loved ones tomorrow.”
The City of Newark is setting up shelters with the American Red Cross at the JFK Recreation Center in the Central Ward, and East Side High School in the East Ward and is working in conjunction with Newark Public Schools to identify additional shelters in each ward if needed.  The City of Newark’s Department of Child and Family well-Being is also coordinating with the Associated Humane Societies to ensure that preparations are made for animal sheltering.
“I am fully confident in the preparedness that has been assembled between the Newark Police and Fire Departments and the Office of Emergency Management. We feel confident that we are ready to handle any and all situations that may arise in our City as a result of Hurricane Irene,” said Police Director DeMaio.
“When man-made or natural disaster strikes, the Newark Fire Department will be there,” Director Ziyad said. “But we need the support and cooperation of every resident. Take steps to protect yourself and your family.”
The Mayor also urged residents to check on their neighbors, particularly the elderly, to be sure they have adequate supplies for and protection during the hurricane.

 The City of Newark recommends the following safety measures to prepare for a hurricane:

    Make plans to secure your property. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install. Tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
    Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.
    Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well trimmed.
    Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
    Consider building a safe room.
    Prepare a basic emergency supply kit which contains one gallon of water per person and food for at least three days, prescription medication for three days, a non-electric can opener, moist towelettes, garbage bags, flashlights and extra batteries, a battery-powered to receive weather reports, local maps, a first aid kit and a whistle to signal for help.

If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:

    Listen to the radio or TV for information.
    Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
    Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
    Turn off propane tanks.
    Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
    Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
    The City of Newark will provide drinking water quality updates to residents.

You should evacuate under the following conditions:

    If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
    If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well fastened to the ground.
    If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
    If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
    If you feel you are in danger.

If you are unable to evacuate, go to your safe room. If you do not have one, follow these guidelines:

    Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
    Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.
    Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
    Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.
    Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.

The City of Newark’s police, fire and office of emergency management officials are also in communication with county, state and federal agencies and are continuing to monitor the situation to prepare for additional earthquake aftershocks, which are possible in the days or weeks to come, after New Jersey experienced a tremor from a 5.9 strength earthquake epicenter in Virginia on Tuesday, August 23. The City of Newark recommends the following tips to prepare for earthquake aftershocks:

Check for Hazards in the Home

    Fasten shelves securely to walls.
    Place large or heavy objects on lower shelves.
    Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass, and china in low, closed cabinets with latches.
    Hang heavy items such as pictures and mirrors away from beds, couches, and anywhere people sit.
    Brace overhead light fixtures.
    Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. These are potential fire risks.
    Secure a water heater by strapping it o the wall studs and bolting it to the floor.
    Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects.
    Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products securely in closed cabinets with latches and on bottom shelves.

Identify Safe Places Indoors and Outdoors

    Under sturdy furniture such as a heavy desk or table.
    Against an inside wall.
    Away from where glass could shatter around windows, mirrors, pictures, or where heavy bookcases or other heavy furniture could fall over.
    In the open, away from buildings, trees, telephone and electrical lines, overpasses, or elevated expressways.

If in a moving vehicle

    Stop as quickly as safety permits and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires.
    Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that might have been damaged by the earthquake.

If trapped under debris

    Do not light a match.
    Do not move about or kick up dust.
    Cover your mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
    Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.  

Educate Yourself and Family Members

    Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter for more information on earthquakes. Also read the "How-To Series" for information on how to protect your property from earthquakes.
    Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1, police, or fire departments and which radio station to tune to for emergency information.
    Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity, and water.

Have Disaster Supplies on Hand

    Flashlight and extra batteries.
    Portable battery-operated radio and extra batteries.
    First aid kit and manual.
    Emergency food and water.
    Nonelectric can opener.
    Essential medicines.
    Cash and credit cards.
    Sturdy shoes.

Develop an Emergency Communication Plan

    In case family members are separated from one another during an earthquake (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children are at school), develop a plan for reuniting after the disaster.
    Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact." After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

For additional information on creating your family emergency plan and putting together an emergency supply kit, please visit the State of New Jersey’s website at  You can also call the Federal Emergency Management Agency at 1-800-621-FEMA or visit their website at

Any non-emergency questions regarding police and fire matters can be directed to (973) 733-6000. For information about all City of Newark programs, contact the Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311.
About the City of Newark, New Jersey

Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major commuter and freight rail lines, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.

With a new Administration as of July 2006, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. Its population showed growth in the most recent census. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The rate of production of affordable housing has doubled, and new businesses are moving in. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation.

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Author: Vera Reis
Vera Reis. colunista do Jornal Brazilian Voice - BRAZILIANVOICE.COM fotografa e portadora do maior acervo de imagens da cidade de Newark, desde 2003 cobrindo todo tipo de evento em New York, Newark e regiao.
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