January 29, 2016
For Immediate Release
For More Information
Contact: Kim Wood
County Sheriff’s Disaster Response Unit makes Big Impact during Snow Storm
Cumberland County, NJ – In preparation for the snow storm that slammed Cumberland County on the weekend of January 22, 2016, Cumberland County Sheriff Robert Austino and members of the County Sheriff’s Disaster Response Unit opened a Command Center at the Sheriff’s Department to prepare for the pending weather.
The Disaster Response Unit was created as a result of the Federal Governments donation of some large military vehicles to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department to be used for disaster response. The vehicles worked excellent during the storm. They encountered roadways that were virtually impassable with drifts as high as 6 feet. The ability of these vehicles to traverse these types of hazards proved very reliable.
On Friday January 22, 2016, Sheriff Austino ordered several pieces of equipment to be staged in strategic locations throughout the county to assist with any requests for emergency aid that might arise. The eight member unit was called into action throughout the weekend. On Saturday, January 23, 2016, random patrols were conducted for security, and to monitor weather conditions. Welfare checks were also conducted to ensure people were safe. On Sunday January 24, 2016 a The Woodstown State Police Barracks in Salem County requested mutual aid. Officers of the Disaster Response Unite were deployed to assist motorists who were stranded in snow drifts near Upper Pittsgrove Township. The Team was able to safely recover two motorists. One of the motorists had been stranded for approximately six hours. An Additional motorist was located, but refused emergency aid and chose to stay with his vehicle.
Cumberland County Freeholder Director and Public Safety Liaison Joe Derella said, “This is a perfect example how important this heavy duty equipment is to County Government. Our Sheriff’s Department was directly responsible for ensuring the motorists safety. Without this equipment, it would not have been possible. I applaud Sheriff Austino and his entire Team for their forward thinking approach to ensuring the safety of our residents.”