Toms River officials place all hands on deck for Joaquin
A reinforced beachfront and enhanced rescue capabilities highlight hurricane preparations organized today by officials in Toms River.
Mayor Thomas Kelaher called the strategy session well in advance of the approaching storm, which is still gathering momentum off the southern Eastern Seaboard.
Key operatives in the police, engineering, public works and emergency management departments, and Township Council members, were involved in the session.
"As an immediate step, our Engineering Department is going to receive additional sand to shore up the existing dunes along all of our township beaches," Kelaher said in a prepared statement. "Crews from the Department of Public Works are out creating sand berms, and all drainage systems in low-lying areas have been inspected for possible flooding."
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) supplied a $1,000,000 grant for the sand. Monmouth-based Earle Asphalt won the contract to add density to the dunes.
According to Public Works Director Lou Amoruso, beach reinforcement already completed and natural forces have created a dune system of greater resilience than existed before Superstorm Sandy.
"We have a prefrontal, or secondary, line of dunes protecting our main dune system," Amoruso said. "Many of the dunes have also rebuilt themselves with natural vegetation this summer, due to favorable weather."
"In short," Kelaher said, "we are ready to go, we are prepared and we are taking precautions."
The township Office of Emergency Management has added rolling stock built to withstand flood impacts, according to coordinator Paul Daley.
"We now have four high-water rescue trucks, army vehicles and a swift-water rescue team that is trained and certified to rescue civilians during flooding," Daley said.
The meeting followed closely on the heels of Tuesday night's FEMA-graded emergency response drill at the township emergency management center. Police, firefighters, emergency medical staffers, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members, auxiliary police and communications operators went through their paces for federal and state inspectors.
"We were thrown some new curves this year, and I am happy to report that Toms River passed this drill with flying colors," Daley said.