Preparedness & Recovery

New Jersey Mayor Proposes 7 Improvements for Future Crises

Ramsey, N.J., Mayor Christopher Botta says having predesignated warming stations and a text-message-based alert system are among the lessons learned from Sandy.

by News Staff / January 3, 2013
Photo courtesy of Walt Jennings/FEMA Walt Jennings/FEMA

Hurricane Sandy downed trees in Ramsey, N.J., leaving more than 85 percent of its citizens without power. “This storm was certainly an event unprecedented in our community,” Mayor Christopher Botta said during a November Council meeting. And he wants the borough to be better prepared for future incidents. During the storm’s aftermath, Botta wrote a list of "seven changes and improvements for future crisis" that he presented at a Council meeting in late November, reported The Record.

The improvements include:

Botta would like for Ramsey to have additional predesignated warming stations. While a local school that had a generator was open during Sandy, it was only used for medical-related needs. Out-of-town facilities were used by other residents to get warm and recharge mobile devices. Botta suggested that additional services could be provided at the school or the local library could be used as a warming facility in the future.

Digital signs located in prominent areas could help distribute announcements to community members during power outages.

A text-message-based alert system could also help distribute alerts to residents. Botta said social media sites like Twitter and Facebook were used during Sandy, but being able to send messages to cellphones directly would be beneficial during a power outage when land-line phones are also down.

A generator at the borough’s Hall could power emergency operations and also provide another warming station for residents.

Future development will be made to the Department of Public Works’ cell tower; cellphone service was unavailable in many parts of Ramsey during and after Sandy.

To determine if there is a flooding hazard, Botta recommended that the Crystal Springs Dam be inspected "just to make sure it’s functioning properly,” The Record reported.

A preparedness day should be held to educate all residents about emergency procedures.

“I was proud of our response here in Ramsey of all of our employees, volunteers, elected officials, administration officials, personnel and most importantly, I was proud of our residents in getting the communication to people who didn’t have communications and opening their homes to people,” Botta said at the Nov. 14 Council meeting. “We all worked together as a community.”