Office of Emergency Management
The Office of Emergency Management provides protection from all hazards for the citizens, properties and governments of the United States as part of the national plan on a local level. Old Bridge received state approval of our emergency operations plan in 1992.
We urge all residents to register with Nixle via the logo below, for Public Safety Alerts for Old Bridge.
Special Needs Registry
Old Bridge Township, in conjunction with Middlesex County, maintains a registry of individuals and families with special needs. This registry is confidential and only utilized for emergency planning purposes. Information with regard to the special needs community is essential to providing shelter, as well as having the proper equipment on hand in the event of an emergency. Click here for the Special Needs Registry form. All forms should be completed and returned to the attention of Thomas Gerity, OEM Coordinator, at the Township of Old Bridge, One Old Bridge Plaza, Old Bridge, NJ 08857
FEMA Urges Residents to be Cautious this Holiday Season
The holiday season is an especially critical time for fire safety. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), heating and cooking are the leading causes of residential building fires. Heating fires occur more often in the winter months when the use of central heating systems, portable heaters and fireplaces is most common. The number of cooking fires routinely start to increase around Thanksgiving and peak in December.
FEMA encourages residents to use extra caution as they celebrate the holiday season. While FEMA provides every disaster housing occupant with instructions on living safely in FEMA housing, awareness and prevention will provide the best defense against fire.
Listed below are some tips for a safer holiday:
Trees: Select a fresh tree, sticky to the touch with green needles. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If needles fall off, the tree is already dry and a fire hazard. Don't place trees near a heating vent or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Keep the tree filled with water. Alternatively, consider using a flame-retardant artificial tree.
Lights: Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. Don't overload electrical outlets and don't link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Don't leave lights unattended.
Decorations: All decorations should be non-flammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
OTHER SAFETY TIPS
Do not leave cooking food unattended. Keep all cooking surfaces clean.
Use only the cooking appliances installed in the trailer. Never use charcoal or propane grills inside the trailer. Shut off all appliances before leaving.
Ensure the propane stove is off after cooking.
Do not trap electric cords against walls where heat can build up.
Never smoke in bed. Do not use an open flame as a flashlight.
Use only electric or battery-powered lighting in travel trailers. Never use candles or lanterns for lighting, heating or cooking. Keep cooking and heating equipment away from combustibles such as paper, cloth and cardboard.
Refrain from using electric space heaters as a heat source.
Take extra care when using portable heaters. Keep bedding, clothes, curtains and other combustible items at least three feet away from space heaters.
Always keep items away from the vent exhaust outside of the travel trailer.
Only use Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved electric blankets and warmers. Check to make sure the cords are not frayed.
Ensure fire extinguishers, fire alarms and smoke detectors are in working order.
For other fire safety tips, visit the USFA website at www.usfa.dhs.gov or www.fema.gov and click on "Plan Ahead" and under "Prepare for Hazards" click on "Fire". Families can also contact their local fire department.
Planning, training and coordination is necessary to respond to an emergency or disaster. OEM coordinates the many responding agencies and various support groups. Old Bridge works with our First Aid Squads, Fire and Police Departments to run drills and test our emergency operations plan.
We know we cannot control natural disasters, but there are things that can be done to minimize the damage to property. Most people remember the damage in Florida from Hurricane Andrew. The Federal Emergency Management Agency found that property damage could have been reduced had the building code required a larger size nail to secure roofs. State building codes requiring smoke alarms is an example of mitigation.
When a disaster, whether natural or technological occurs, OEM works in an advisory and supporting role to coordinate the response and interagency communications with Fire, Police and Emergency Medical Services. Such support includes activation of auxiliary police, evacuation, setting up shelters and obtaining outside help from county and state agencies.
In the recovery phase we attempt to recover resources expended by tracking the damages and cost to the town to determine reimbursements.
OEM is a team effort. It has responded to numerous disasters and recovered thousands of dollars from FEMA and the State of New Jersey.
For more information contact our emergency operations center at 732-721-5600 ext. 3070, 3071, or 3072 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Should the need for any Red Alert ever be declared, it will be broadcast on TV15 immediately. This is not a new procedure but has been part of our Emergency Operations plan for many years. Our emergency plans were developed for all hazards. These plans are reviewed and tested periodically. We also perform a hazard analysis on a regular basis to determine and prepare for the most vulnerable type of emergent threat to our community.
Our local emergency planning committee meets monthly and sponsors exercises on a regular basis.
Our entire school district has had crisis management plans and has practiced their plan for the past two years. The Office of Emergency Management and the Old Bridge Police Department, as well as our Fire Districts and First Aid Squads, have physically participated with and updated our crisis management school plans.
Many residents have been confused concerning our National Alert System. Code Red or Red Alert is a site specific situation. If a "Code Red" ever had to be declared in Old Bridge or a part of Old Bridge, we will advise you of what to do.
Different emergent situations require different measures. Please familiarize yourself with Shelter in Place. Thousands of copies have been distributed through the school system, as well as at homeowners' meetings throughout the Township.
A Parent's Guide to Talking with Children about the War
Children and youth often know more, worry about more and ask less than we realize. Children listen at times when we may not realize and they have questions they may not ask unless we provide the opportunity.
This guide provides some ideas for bringing up difficult topics and helping you reassure your child. This is a "guide with ideas". There is no one "right way" to talk to your child.
When you don't know how else to bring something up, state the obvious. Some suggestions for this might be:
- "There has been more on the news lately about the war with Iraq." Sometimes when that kind of news is on television, kids feel confused or concerned about what it means. "What kind of thoughts have you had?"
- "We received a letter from your teacher and it says they are helping you understand new procedures at school in case we have a terrorist attack. What are your classmates saying about this?"
- "A while back we had some national alerts and we changed to code orange. This kind of thing is new for our country so we don't always know what is means. What do you think it means?" or "What are kids saying about it?"
Speak in hopeful terms. There are several options here:
- "People high up in government are working on these complex issues and we're hoping they will make good decisions that help keep us safe."
- "Although we don't always know how we will cope with something, the most difficult part is often during periods of anticipation. Once we know what is actually going to unfold, we can start to put measures in place."
- "We'll get through this together. You don't have to figure this out alone. I'm here to support you and I want to hear your concerns."
- Make it easy for kids to reveal their concerns to you;
- Be honest with your children;
- Limit or eliminate your child's viewing of television coverage;
- Differentiate between war and terrorism and help you child with realistic reassurances;
- Have faith in your child's ability to cope;
- Empower your child;
- Accept short-term regression;
- Remember the value of laughter and fun!
Family Disaster Plan
Keep these items ready in a portable container such as a covered trash container, a camping backpack or a duffle bag. You may only have a moments notice before you're told to evacuate.
- Water in plastic containers
- Non-perishable food, high energy food, vitamins
- First Aid supplies, first aid kit, non-prescription drugs
- Tools and Emergency Supplies - can opener, extra batteries, flashlights, battery operated radio, small tools, copies of important family documents
- Clothing and bedding
- Special Items - baby supplies, mobility aids, medicine, copies of prescriptions, eyeglasses, toys and games for kids.
Show someone you care. Give a Disaster Supply Kit as a holiday gift.
Chemical Emergency Plan
WHEN SHOULD YOU SHELTER IN PLACE?
- When instructed by emergency personnel; or
- If you encounter a vapor cloud or an unusual odor, you should take steps to Shelter in Place
Stay calm, go inside and listen for the emergency information or evacuation announcements by fire or police departments. Prepare your shelter.
CALL IN YOUR CHILDREN
Where they can be supervised. Call in your pets. Help the elderly or handicapped and give temporary shelter to pedestrians.
DO NOT PICK UP YOUR CHILDREN FROM SCHOOL OR DAYCARE
School regulations ensure a swift, orderly response to an official call for evacuation or to Shelter in Place. The presence of parents searching for their children can only cause confusion and delays. It can also be dangerous for you and your children. Contact your school in advance so you know their procedures.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE YOUR SHELTER?
Seal your house so contaminants cannot enter:
- Turn off fans, heating, cooling or ventilation systems.
- Close and lock windows and doors.
- Fully extinguish fires in the fireplace with water than close dampers.
- Close off non-essential rooms such as storage areas, laundry rooms and extra bedrooms.
- Seal gaps under doorways and windows with any available material (wet towels, duct tape, newspaper)
- Seals gaps around window and air conditioning units, bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and stove and dryer vents with duct tape and plastic sheeting or aluminum wrap.
IF YOU ARE IN A CAR, SEAL UP BY CLOSING WINDOWS AND SHUTTING VENTS
HOW WILL YOU BE NOTIFIED TO SHELTER IN PLACE IN OLD BRIDGE
1. Emergency Alert System (EAS) Tune to Radio/Television
Announcements concerning the emergency, specific evacuation procedures, as well as all-clear signals, will be broadcast by regional radio, television and cable stations. Monitor emergency alert system information on one of the EAS radio and Old Bridge TV15 or Old Bridge Board of Education TV.
2. Route Alerting
(Pay attention to loudspeaker announcements) Emergency personnel may give you specific directions via loudspeaker or door-to-door contact.
3. VIA THE COMMUNICATOR
In time of emergency or disaster, you may receive a recorded telephone message informing you of what to do.
- Being inside can provide you with added protection from a hazardous materials release. Staying inside is safer than trying to outrun a release!
- You can take effective measures in the event of a hazardous chemicals incident. The Old Bridge Office of Emergency Management's goal is to provide useful steps to insure your safety and that of your family.
- Despite all safety precautions, it is possible that a chemical accident occurring anywhere in the area could create irritating or hazardous conditions for those people in close proximity.
- In case of a hazardous materials emergency, do not listen to rumors - tune into the radio or television to find out what actions you might need to take.
- Do not tie up telephones, cellular phones and/or emergency phone lines. Use the phone only when absolutely necessary. Emergency Services will need every available telephone line to initiate help and rescue operations.
Thomas Gerity, Coordinator
Phone: (732) 721-5600, ext. 3070, 3071