Officials Friday said Wyckoff's Office of Emergency Management has been keeping a close eye on Hurricane Sandy, but that much uncertainty still surrounds the severity of the approaching "Frankenstorm."
"We're in the throes of storm planning," said Wyckoff Mayor Chris DePhillips. "OEM has been fully activated and we're preparing for the worst — which doesn't mean the worst is going to occur."
The storm appears to be headed our way, the township wrote in an email message to residents. "The impact times for our area appear to be Monday through Wednesday."
Many projections have the storm carrying strong winds that could potentially topple trees causing widespread power outages and flash flooding in the Northeast.
It's not clear how severe Hurricane Sandy will be when it reaches New Jersey, or even when it will be here, but some projections have the first rain fall coming sometime late Sunday or Monday.
Mayor DePhillips had been in contact with the Wyckoff OEM Director Dave Murphy and Wyckoff Public Schools Superintendent Richard Kuder, he said Friday afternoon.
Local schools, including the Ramapo-Indian Hills High School District, are taking steps to ensure communication with parents is open, he said.
The Wyckoff Public Library, Wyckoff YMCA, and Christian Health Care Center have also made their facilities available as shelters should the need arise, DePhillips said.
The mayor added that the township has learned from last year's Halloween snow storm, Hurricane Irene, as well as a nasty weekend storm in March 2010
"I'm fully confident we'll be ready," DePhillips said. The emergency preparedness and response processes "have become a well-oiled machine."
Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox urged residents to use their discretion when contacting police.
Calls for general assistance and questions should be directed to the Wyckoff Police at 201-891-2121.
"As far as 911 goes, it is for emergency calls only," Fox said. "It's very important not to overload the 911 switchboards with non-emergency calls, when in fact it is a time of other, real emergency calls."
Township officials took a proactive stance Friday, warning residents to take stock well ahead of Sandy's anticipated arrival.
How to Prepare
Officials are recommending that homeowners stock up on emergency supplies such as food, water and medication for family pets for at least 72 hours.
"Remember food safety," an email blast to residents warned. "Power outages and flooding may happen as a result of a tropical storm or hurricane, so have a plan for keeping food safe. Have a cooler on hand to keep food cold, and group food together in the freezer so it stays cold longer."
Locals flocked all day Friday to The Hardware Station hoping to stock up on goods to keep power flowing should electricity go dark.
The Wyckoff Avenue hardware store had a "big, big run" on emergency supplies, said the employee who — for some strange reason — asked to not be identified.
"We've had at least 40 calls for generators today," he said, but the store doesn't typically carry generators and, as such, doesn't have any.
The store didn't have flashlights, gas cans and lantern batteries, as of early Friday evening. It did have a full inventory of common household batteries, though.
"It's been hopping," he said. "We usually have 5 [credit card] charges all day — today we have at least 50."
Even Gov. Christie pushed New Jersey residents to take prophylactic steps ahead of the storm.
"Now, ahead of any potential impact of Sandy, is the time for families to ensure they are prepared and are tuned in for the latest path of the storm for our coast," Christie said. I encourage all of our families to stay informed, get ready, and reach out to those you know who may be isolated, or in need of extra assistance during adverse conditions."
Some suggestions issued by The American Red Cross Friday include:
- A portable kit, stored in a sturdy, easy to carry, water resistant container should have enough supplies for three days. Check your kit and replace perishable stock every six months.
Whether you purchase a kit or choose to build your own, your three-day kit should include:
- Water: one gallon per person, per day.
- Food: nonperishable, easy-to-prepare items such as tuna fish, peanut butter, crackers, and canned fruit.
- Don't forget to include a manual can opener.
- A battery-powered or hand-crank radio, flashlight and plenty of extra batteries.
- A first aid kit.
- Prescription and nonprescription medication items. Include medical supplies like extra hearing aid batteries, syringes, etc.
- Copies of important documents, including birth certificates, insurance policies and social security cards.
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items.
- Extra cash. ATMs and credit cards won’t work if the power is out.
- Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
- One blanket or sleeping bag per person.
- Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowls).
Know what to do if a hurricane watch is issued:
- Listen to weather updates from your battery-powered or hand-cranked radio.
- Bring in outdoor objects such as lawn furniture, hanging plants, bicycles, toys and garden tools, anchor objects that cannot be brought inside.
- Close all windows and doors. Cover windows with storm shutters or plywood.
- If time permits, and you live in an identified surge zone, elevate furniture or move it to a higher floor to protect it from flooding.
- Fill your vehicle’s gas tank.
- Check your disaster supplies kit to make sure items have not expired.
Know what to do if a hurricane warning is issued:
- Listen to the advice of local officials, and leave if they tell you to do so.
- If in a manufactured home, check tie-downs and evacuate as told by local authorities.
- Secure your home by unplugging appliances and turning off electricity and the main water valve.
- If you are not advised to evacuate, stay inside, away from windows, skylights and glass doors.
- Do not use open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light.
- If power is lost, turn off appliances to reduce damage from a power surge when electricity is rest
Additional preparedness tools, resources and useful links, can be found here.
Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.