UPDATED: Maplewoodians Clamor for Information on Power, Gas
Updates on power restoration and elections; also, how to sign up for township emergency alerts.
Update, 11/2: To receive emergency notifications from Maplewood Township, including Mayor DeLuca's regular Hurricane Sandy updates, sign up for the Code Red Notification alerts here.
Mayor DeLuca said that the infusion of people and vital equipment that the federal government will be moving into New Jersey over the next couple of days will free up more work crews to move into our area. He is continuing to pressure PSE&G: "We are trying to get more of those people to Maplewood," he said.
Looking ahead to Election Day, which is only four days away, DeLuca said three out of Maplewood's six polling sites (Prospect Presbyterian Church, DeHart Center and Clinton), were out of power. He is working with the county and the state to ensure the township is provided with temporary polling places if power is not restored by Tuesday.
On day three of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, tempers are fraying as Maplewood residents realize that it might be a while before life returns to anything resembling normalcy.
At Maplewood Town Hall on Thursday midday, Mayor Vic DeLuca faced questions from frustrated residents who were there charging electronic devices and warming up. One, a disabled man from Brookwood Drive, asked why the police weren't doing more to provide updates.
"The police are very busy," said DeLuca. He said officers had been dispatched earlier today to guard local gas stations to keep order and prevent theft.
"We need a police presence," said one woman who said she and her son had asthma. "We have a police presence," DeLuca said.
The township has been making regular daily robocalls on the township's Code Red system to update residents throughout the crisis.
"We were hit very hard here," said DeLuca.
Some key points:
- PSE&G has still not provided a timetable for the restoration of residential power, according to Mayor DeLuca at midday on Thursday. "They are still telling us Monday," he said. DeLuca said townhip officials had managed to get some PSE&G work crews to remove downed power lines on some streets, which will enable the DPW to clear those streets for travel.
- Gas is still unavailable in Maplewood. There have been reports of gas stations open in some other nearby towns, but lines have been reported to be extremely long.
DeLuca said the township purchased 1,750 gallons of diesel fuel from a local gas station in order to power the police station and fire department, and have access to gasoline as needed for police and emergency vehicles and DPW trucks.
- Food is spoiling and should be disposed of, according to the head of the township's health committee, India Larrier. She said the health department is recommending that resident throw out all perishable foods they currently have, from refrigerators, freezers and coolers.
In addition, the township will inform all food stores without power that they must dispose of any perishable food and stores are not to reopen until the health department has inspected them.
- The township shelter at DeHart Community Center is open and has power and heat. People are asked to bring their own blankets, sleeping bags and essential medications.
- The Maplewood Library might stay open for extended hours over the weekend. Morrow Memorial Church is still open.
One spot of good news: the water supply seems to be fine, at least for now. DeLuca said he had spoken to NJAWC who said there were no plans to turn off water supplies.
IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS:
PSE&G: 1-800-436-7734 to report power outages
Police Non-emergency: 973-762-3400
Emergency situations and downed wires: 911