CONTACT: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J.
- Mercer County is urging its residents to be prepared for severe weather and heavy rains in the coming days as Hurricane Irene is predicted to make landfall on the Atlantic Coastline, and County Executive Hughes has declared a limited state of emergency (Executive Order 2011-03) in anticipation of the severe weather conditions expected in Central New Jersey. The Order allows the Mercer County Office of Emergency Management to begin implementation of its emergency plan. Hughes also asked all municipalities and local public agencies to keep careful records of damages and expenses so that the county could possibly get reimbursement from federal agencies if Mercer County sustains high degrees of damage. Mercer County was successful in obtaining $1.2 million in reimbursements following the December 2010 blizzard.

Mercer County residents are being told to shelter in their homes unless ordered to evacuate by law enforcement personnel or in case of extreme emergency. It has been erroneously reported that the Sun National Bank Center will serve as a local shelter. The Arena is not a sheltering site. The Center was temporarily used for 24 hours prior to the storm’s arrival as a processing point for people displaced from other areas of the state. It is not a local shelter. If ordered to evacuate, people in the City of Trenton will be instructed as to which location they should go. In Ewing, people should go to the West Trenton Fire Station. In other parts of the county, people should go where local law enforcement instructs them to go. Again, residents should not go to Sun National Bank Center.

Most recent forecast models show that Irene will bring significant rainfall to the region that could lead to localized flooding of streets and streams, flooding of basements and, depending on the location of the storm, a rise in the level of the Delaware River. Additionally, recent heavy rains have saturated the ground, which could weaken tree roots.

“I want our residents to take this storm seriously and be as prepared as possible,” Hughes said. “The time to prepare is now. The storm is coming, and even if it is reduced to tropical storm status, it will bring heavy winds and rain. You can be of most help to our emergency teams and road crews if you prepare now and travel only if absolutely necessary.” Hughes asks residents to “shelter in place,” which means to stay in your residence unless it is an emergency. The American Red Cross of Central New Jersey is responsible for regional shelters in the area, and people with that need should call 609-951-8550 or go to www.njredcross.org.

Mercer County Office of Emergency Management is working with local municipal OEMs and the N.J. State Police Office of Emergency Management to ready what resources may be needed. Mercer County Park Commission, Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, Human Services, Communications, Buildings and Grounds, Mercer County Improvement Authority, the Sheriff’s Office, Prosecutor’s Office, and other first responders are in place.

As Hughes encourages families to prepare for this storm, county offices and facilities are also making necessary preparations. At Trenton-Mercer Airport, administrators are monitoring the weather and sending advisories to TTN tenants requesting that they ensure all materials and objects are secured, including aircraft. “Although we hope to keep the airport operational, if sustained winds reach 58 mph, we will be required to close the control tower,” Hughes said. In case of closure, aircraft would be diverted to other regional airports. People who are expecting to arrive at or depart from Trenton-Mercer should check with their airline before venturing out.

The Highway Department has inspecting its equipment to ensure everything is functioning properly and will be ready for emergency calls that would typically include inspecting and cleaning storm drain covers, sweeping and cleaning roads in flood-prone areas, making sure trucks are pre-loaded with barrels, are having arrow boards, light towers, pumps and generators ready. The Shade Tree Division expects to be busy round the clock over the weekend and into next week, and has geared up.

Mercer County Park Commission has suspended all play at its four golf courses on Sunday, Aug. 28. Updates will be posted after Sunday. The Commission also has secured all watercraft at the marina and the Docks on the Delaware, behind Waterfront Park.

If power should go out at the county’s two fuel stations, it has a tanker truck that can supply county work trucks and generators with an additional 1,000 gallons of fuel.

The Mercer County Office of Emergency Management will participate in monitoring and communicating the tracking and assessment of Hurricane Irene over the next several days, Hughes said. In addition, local emergency management volunteer groups such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) have been notified to be poised to respond. CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

Mercer County’s OEM has also joined the New Jersey OEM in its awareness campaign that asks residents to prepare for unexpected emergencies by getting a kit, making a plan, and staying informed.

Below is a list of some quick tips for emergency preparedness:
“GET A KIT” of Emergency Supplies for Your Home
  • Three days’ supply of canned, non-perishable, ready-to-eat FOOD
  • Three days’ supply of WATER (a total of three gallons per family member)
  • Battery-operated RADIO and extra batteries
  • FLASHLIGHT and extra batteries
  • One week’s prescription MEDICATIONS
  • FIRST AID KIT
  • Personal TOILETRIES
  • Non-electric CAN OPENER and UTENSILS
  • SPECIAL NEEDS items: INFANT care items; items for ELDERLY family members; items for relatives with DISABILITIES
  • CASH or TRAVELERS CHECKS
  • Store important DOCUMENTS in a waterproof, safe location
top of page 01
IN CASE YOU NEED TO EVACUATE
  • Keep a half-gallon of GAS at all times
  • Every family member must carry CONTACT INFORMATION for all phone numbers at work, school, etc. for every family member, and the name and number of a relative who lives out-of-state to call in case your family gets separated.
top of page 01
“MAKE A PLAN” for Yourself, Your Family or Your Business
  • Meet with the members of your household or office
  • Talk about the types of disasters that are most likely to happen in your area
  • Take time to explain the dangers of emergency incidents to children
  • Discuss why everyone needs to prepare for a disaster
  • Address any special needs concerns in the event of an emergency
  • Build an emergency contact phone list
  • Make provisions for pets
  • Remember to establish and share emergency incident responsibilities
  • Emphasize that teamwork and staying calm are key
top of page 01
For more information regarding emergency preparedness log on to:
http://www.ready.nj.gov/plan/kit-plan.html. For more information regarding the CERT program log on to: http://www.state.nj.us/njoem/emb_cert.html or call 609-963-6900 ext. 6964.
top of page 01