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East Windsor Mayor Assesses Superstorm Sandy

East Windsor Mayor Janice Mironov discussed clean-up efforts, the township's alert system, and JCP&L’s response time during last week's “Spotlight East Windsor with Mayor Mironov” broadcast

During the Nov. 28 “Spotlight East Windsor with Mayor Mironov” broadcast, East Windsor Mayor Mironov  took a look back at Superstorm Sandy and spoke about issues that affected many East Windsor residents.

During her postmortem, Mironov discussed clean-up efforts, how residents can stay informed by the township, and JCP&L’s response time, among other things.

“The town was really proactive in terms of our clean-up – and we’ll put our record up against towns throughout the region,” Mironov said.

According to the Mayor, the township public works department began cleaning up the day after Sandy hit. Mironov said after Jan. 1, the township will go back and remove stumps left behind by felled trees.

As of Nov. 26, the township will not collect debris or chip tree branches. Mironov said it is the responsibility of the contractors who cut down residents’ damaged trees to also remove the debris from their homes. She asked that no one leave debris on public roads, and said contractors who disobey will be summonsed.

“All residents can help keep our streets safe and clean so that our other public works services can continue unimpeded,” Mironov said.

Before winter weather comes our way, the township will instead focus on leaf removal, since leaves can cause safety problems, clog drains, and create flooding, Mironov said.

As a silver lining, she said the township now has a great deal of fire wood that will be distributed for free to residents who come to the back of the public works facility.

Mironov said the storm positively highlighted East Windsor’s communication systems. She said the township sent out several e-news alerts a day when the storm first hit, which gradually decreased to a few alerts, and then one alert a day as time wore on.

“But we were trying to provide as much updated information as we could regarding the storm, regarding road conditions, regarding available facilities, regarding restoration of power…,” Mironov said.

“But obviously it’s only successful if people are going to receive it and read it,” she continued.

While alerts are available on East Windsor’s website, Mironov also urges residents to sign up for the e-news alerts, which would be emailed to residents as soon as they are available. She said the alerts are a primary vehicle to inform residents in an emergency situation, and it is residents’ responsibility to obtain that information however they can.

In the future, the alerts will also be posted on all the public buildings, and they will also be made available to the police department dispatch.

Mironov said there were some inadequacies that occurred during Sandy, referring to JCP&L’s response time and the lack of information provided to its customers. According to the Mayor, JCP&L did not provide the township with timely work estimates.

“People for the most part are reasonable,” Mironov said. “They understand that we have a dramatic hurricane that brought huge damage throughout our state, and there was a tremendous amount of work to be done, and it could not all be done at the same time. But what people were expecting was that after a few days that they could get a schedule that was reasonable as to when somebody might get to their home so that they could plan.”

Mironov said that information was very difficult to obtain from JCP&L. On the other end of the spectrum, however, when the utility company was pressured to give time estimates, they provided residents with outlandish estimates, 15 days after the storm first hit in some cases.

“So that was just being silly and not very constructive,” she said. “There needs to be some review of that in terms of how to go about determining their work plan, and the order by which they come into a town or neighborhood.”

Prioritization was another issue in East Windsor. Mironov said the utility company did not make the police department a priority for power restoration, and the department worked off a generator for eight days.

“That all needs to get examined,” she said.

According to the Mayor, the League of Municipalities, of which she is the Vice President, is attempting to set up a dialogue with JCP&L representatives.

“We look forward to those discussions with them, and hopefully we can work together and make some improvements,” she said.

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Sand December 06, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Communication was terrible. E-mails only work if you have power for your computer. How about adding reverse 911(not just once in a week but daily updates), text messages and tweets so that among them all maybe the citizens will have a chance to get one one of them when the others may be down. Posting of those alerts in multiple public locations that are open such as the PD and stores would also help. Public safety messages such has "stay away from down wires" should also be included in these updates
SLSmith December 06, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Could we develop a Facebook Page for the police Dpartment, similar to West Windsor's, for every day alerts?
Jake December 06, 2012 at 05:13 PM
"We'll put up our record".....who is our? Other towns had elected officials who were pro active and visible throughout the event. That storm was a month ago and now we're hearing from the mayor on a scripted tv show? Now we're discussing texting, Facebook, reverse 911, etc? And what about the lack of evacuation plans, shelter, food and heat? Yes, the township employees, volunteers, police and fire all did what they could in the aftermath, but it's quite clear local government was completely unprepared and those issues need to be addressed. If firewood is the only silver lining that's pretty sad. And how about recognizing those people and organizations who did all that they could to help others?
Sand December 08, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Where were our elected officials? Out of town?

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