July 2, 2012
CUMBERLAND COUNTY - RECOVERY UNDERWAY
POWER STILL OUT IN MANY AREAS
CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NJ – Hit by devastating storms late Friday night leaving tens of thousands of residents without power, Cumberland County has been under recovery for days, with steady progress being made, but there’s still a lot of work that still needs to be done. Today there are still more than 10,000 residents without power. Some using generators to get by and others are staying at hotels, to get relief from the heat and humidity
The American Red Cross has set up area cooling centers to help residents keep cool, where you can go to have a drink of water, and get refreshed. The County Health Department is reminding residents that they should be sure to hydrate and drink plenty of fluids during hot days like this. Bottled water is available at most stores, and it’s good to have some bottled water on hand for drinking, especially when there’s no electricity. Food safety during a power outage is always a concern. The Cumberland County Health Dept. wants to remind residents that they should clean out and throw away all the food that’s in their refrigerators and freezers, if you’ve been without electricity. Don’t take any chances, when in doubt, throw it out. And, remember to check on neighbors and the elderly to make sure they’re ok, and don’t forget to take care of pets and give them plenty of water also.
The American Red Cross has set up cooling centers across Cumberland County that are available to those who have no electricity and need to go somewhere to get away from the heat. The cooling centers in Millville are; the First Presbyterian Church located at 119 North 2nd Street (Please enter the social hall connected to the back of the church off of Pine Street) will provide water, AC, and power outlets so residents can charge their cellphones and electronic equipment and will be open from 9am – 6pm. Also in Millville, the John Bosco Church on West Main St. (Rt. 49) located at 2 Hillcrest Ave. will be open from 9am – 5pm and will provide the same. In Vineland, the Thomas Wallace School located at #688 N. Main Road, Vineland (856) 362-8887 is open as a cooling center round the clock for residents. And in Pittsgrove, the Pittsgrove Municipal Building located at #989 Centerton Road, Elmer (856) 358-2300 is open from 12pm (noon) to 8pm.
Recovery from the storm damage continues, but there’s still a lot of work to be done; fallen trees and debris is still being cleaned up and there’s still a lot of utility poles and wires that need to be repaired. Cumberland County declared a state of emergency, as did the city of Vineland, which helps to speed up the process of repairs and cleanup. Many trees, utility poles, and wires, still need to be cleaned up, plus there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done by Atlantic Electric, Verizon Telephone, and the Vineland Municipal Electric Company, and county road crews, to get things back to normal.
Cumberland County Officials, Engineers, Directors, and the County Dept. of Public Works are working with the County and Local Emergency Management (OEM), the County 911 Center, the New Jersey State Police, and Fire & Rescues Squads from throughout the County to help residents during this difficult time. The American Red Cross is here working in our county also, and has set up cooling centers across the region. The Cumberland County Department of Public Works has been steadily hard at work clearing fallen trees and debris from roadways to get things back to normal. The County Dept. of Public Works owns a wood-chipper that’s out working every day. Plus, they have brought in two more wood-chippers from outside vendors to help, so now there are three wood-chippers working every day to help clear trees, brush and debris.
County Engineers and the Dept. of Public Works have also installed new stop signs where there’s no power to operate the traffic lights, making them All Way (4-Way) Stop Intersections for public safety. Residents are asked to be extra observant and drive with caution. “There are a lot of new traffic patterns, and residents need to be observant”, said Cumberland County Freeholder Tony Surace, Chairman of the Public Works Committee.
The Vineland Municipal Electric Utility has approximately 24,900 customers. After Friday night’s storm, about 18,000 of those customers were without power. Many have had their power restored, but approximately 5,000 customers are still without power. Vineland Electric normally only has 4 line crews to maintain and repair Vineland electric lines, but since the storms hit Friday night Vineland Electric has brought in 6 outside line crews for a total of 10 line crews to help. That’s a 150% increase in line crews to help Vineland residents.
Atlantic Electric reports that more than 16,400 Cumberland County residents are still without electricity today. Atlantic Electric has 143 line personnel, in addition to another 563 additional line personnel from outside contractors, working to repair the electric lines across the region.
They also have 246 tree trimming personnel working to clear downed trees and debris. Atlantic Electric is using the Atlantic City Race Track as a staging area for all the new personnel, and reports that they are working hard to get power restored as fast as possible.
“Everyone is pulling together and we are making progress. Recovery is underway, but there’s still a lot of work to be done”, reports Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein. Some roads still remain closed because of fallen trees, debris, or downed power wires. Below is a list of road closures.
Current Roads Closures in Cumberland County:
Road Closures with Wires & Trees
Jericho Road (Stow Creek) Cook / Roadstown
Macanipuck Road (Stow Creek) Buckhorn / Roadstown
Silver Lake Road (Upper Deerfield) Holding / DuBois
Brewster Road (Vineland City) Maple / Landis
Route 553 (Fairfield Twp.) Rt. 49 / Buckshutem
Kenyon Ave (Deefield Twp.) Sherman / Lebanon
East Point Road (Maurice River Twp.)
Pine View Terrace ( Hopewell Twp.) 2 Destroyed utility poles
Weymouth (Vineland) West Ave. / Blvd
Road Closures with Wires Only
Mays Landing Road (Vineland/Maurice River) @ Union
Irving Ave (Deerfield) Nabb / East
Wires & Trees Road NOT closed
Hospital Road Hopewell Twp.
Fox Road Upper Deerfield