In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Camden County Department of Public Works (DPW) and Parks Department are working to remediate damaged areas and cleanup debris brought down by the storm. At this point the Camden County Emergency Operation Center is still in operation and coordinating damage assessments for the region.
We are working to clean-up the County and our crews are removing downed trees and debris throughout our 222 square miles. There was extensive tree damage, but flooding was not as widespread as predicted. After personally surveying the damage throughout the County, we have mobilized all of our trucks and equipment including, backhoes, chippers, tree crews, dump trucks, street-sweepers and the remainder of the fleet for the aftermath operation. Keeping roads passible for emergency vehicles and essential employees has been a top priority for DPW.
Overnight, the locations of hundreds of downed trees and limbs were relayed to DPW through the county’s 911 system and from municipal officials. These reports combined with more than 50 calls received directly from residents everywhere from Gloucester and Winslow Townships to Camden and Pennsauken were received on the DPW’s hotline.
If you spot a downed tree please call and report it to DPW at (856) 566-2980, or report it online at www.camdencounty.com.
The DPW crews, dispatchers and all other emergency personnel worked throughout the storm. The Camden County 911 call center took more than 3,000 calls throughout the storm event with the heaviest volume coming in the 8:00 p.m. hour last night. On an average day the Center gets about 1,200 calls.
Additionally, five fire engines and Camden County support is on its way back from Toms River, Ocean County from assisting in fighting 19 reported fires. The engines were dispatched last night and provided mutual aid to our neighbors in the North.
I’m happy to report that our engineers have checked many if not all culverts, bridges, dams and current construction sites and no failures have been reported. This is good news and I will keep residents up to date if anything changes on this important front.
Overall effects of the storm have created road closings, travel restrictions, localized flooding, and downed trees. There have been reported power outages by both electrical utilities and those utilities are working directly with the County to keep residents informed.
Current road closings as reported into the OEM:
· Several blocks of River Road has been closed in Camden City.
· Creek Road is closed in Bellmawr
· Kaighn Avenue is closed in Camden City and Pennsauken
· Springdale at Route 70 is closed in Cherry Hill
· Route 38 is closed at Mall Drive in Cherry Hill
· Church Road is closed at Delwood in Cherry Hill
· Downed traffic signal at 561 and Cranford in Cherry Hill
· Downed traffic signal at Route 70 and Kingston in Cherry Hill
· Kresson Road is closed from Middle Acre to Springdale in Cherry Hill
· The 800 block of Station Avenue is closed in Haddon Heights
· We’ve posted a full list of streets in Camden City on the county website
DPW wants residents to stay away from Station Avenue in Haddon Heights. The 800 block of that area has a large tree down covered in utility wires.
I want to reiterate to residents, stay away from all downed wires and lines no matter what utility. We are still asking that any calls about power outages should be directed to the utilities and the Camden County 911 emergency system should be used for emergencies only.
· PSE&G: 1-800-436-PSEG (7734)
· PSEG website: http://pseg.com/home/customer_service/outage_info/index.jsp
· Atlantic City Electric: 1-800-833-7476
· Atlantic City Electric website: http://www.atlanticcityelectric.com/home/
· South Jersey Gas: 1-800-582-7060
· South Jersey Gas website: http://southjerseygas.com/
In regards to natural gas, please remember, if you smell a strong odor of natural gas inside your home or business, ventilate the area by opening windows or leaving a door open and immediately evacuate. Once away from the home or building, call 911 and then South Jersey Gas by dialing (800) 582-7060. Additionally do not light any matches, turn on any light switches, or use the telephone in the area where the strong odor exists. Any of these actions could ignite gas that may have accumulated.
I also want to take this opportunity to ask everyone to look in on your neighbors and the elderly during this storm. We have moved into the next stage of this storm and are aggressively addressing the aftermath. This operation will take time and will take a yeoman effort by our staff so please be patient.
For more information on Camden County’s response to Hurricane Sandy, go towww.camdencounty.com and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for up to the minute briefings.