Types of Disasters
You can take steps to minimize the loss of life or property during a hurricane. Remember, if a hurricane occurs, emergency responders may not be able to immediately reach you. You should be prepared to be self-sustaining for at least three days.
First thing is that we want you to get on social media if not already (City of South Amboy web page or Facebook). Be sure to sign up on Nixle to receive alerts and notifications from SAPD and OEM www.nixle.com also sign up for alerts from the State of New Jersey www.njalert.gov.
Know the special danger from hurricanes and tropical storms
Tropical storm winds which can have wind speeds of 39-73mph
Hurricane winds can reach 74-95mph for a category 1 storm to a category 5 storm which will have winds above 155mph.
Storm surge is a dome of water 50-100 miles wide and as high as 25ft high that is pushed ahead of the storm. It devastates coastal communities as it sweeps ashore.
Before a Hurricane
- Have a hurricane plan and ensure everyone in the household knows the plan.
- Know your evacuation route.
- Have an emergency supplies kit prepared, to include at least: three days' drinking water (two quarts per person per day); non-perishable food; flashlight with extra batteries; portable battery-operated radio; first-aid kit; non-electric can opener; essential medicines; cash and credit cards.
- Make arrangements for pets. Pets are not allowed in official shelters.
- Protect your home by covering windows with permanent shutters, plywood panels or other shielding materials. Bring in lawn furniture and other loose objects, such as garbage cans, that may become a hazard during high winds.
- Be sure trees and shrubs around your home are well-trimmed.
- Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
- Determine how and where to secure your boat.
- Fuel up and service family vehicles.
If a hurricane is likely in your area, you should:
- Listen to the radio or watch TV for information.
- Secure your home, close storm shutters, and secure outdoor objects or bring them indoors.
- Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
- Ensure a supply of water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets. Fill the bathtub and other large containers with water.
You should evacuate under the following conditions:
- If you are directed by local authorities to do so. Be sure to follow their instructions.
- If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during hurricanes no matter how well-fastened to the ground.
- If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
- If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an inland waterway.
- If you feel you are in danger.
Evacuate/Shelter in Place
If you are told to evacuate that means to leave your home or workplace and follow an Evacuation route if one to a safe shelter. You should know where you’re local shelter and its phone number (732) 525-5961. Emergency Management Officials will use radio/TV broadcast & the Local Emergency alert system which includes Nixle and reverse 911.
During a Hurricane
If you are unable to evacuate, you should:
- Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.
- Close all interior doors-secure and brace external doors.
- Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm - winds will pick up again.
- Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway.
- Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
- Be alert. Tornadoes are frequently spawned during hurricanes.
After a Hurricane
- Wait until an area is declared safe before re-entering.
- Do not drive in flooded areas.
- Avoid using candles or other open flames indoors. Use a flashlight to inspect damage.
- Check gas, water, electrical lines and appliances for damage.
- Avoid any loose or down power lines and report them to your power company.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until local officials have declared it safe to drink.
The Office of Emergency Management for the City of South Amboy has a form in place in conjunction with the County of Middlesex Emergency Management. It’s called Special Needs Form which can be picked up @ the Senior Citizen Resource Center. This will help the Local OEM and County OEM during an evacuation.
Before a Tornado
Be alert to changing weather conditions.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information.
- Look for approaching storms.
- Look for the following danger signs:
Dark, often greenish sky
A large, dark, low-lying cloud (particularly if rotating)
Loud roar, similar to a freight train
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
During a Tornado
If you are under a tornado warning, seek shelter immediately.
- Get indoors to a pre-designated shelter area such as a basement, storm cellar or the lowest building level. If there is no basement, go to the center of an interior room on the lowest level (closet, interior hallway) away from corners, windows, doors and outside walls.
- Shutter windows and outside doors.
- If in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.
- If unable to get indoors, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Be aware of potential flooding and flying debris.
- Never try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle. Instead, leave the vehicle immediately for safe shelter.
After a Tornado
- Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
- Avoid downed power lines and report them to your utility company.
- Stay out of damaged buildings.
In comparison to flooding from a river overflowing its banks, coastal flooding is usually the result of a severe weather system such as a tropical storm or hurricane, which contains an element of high winds. The damaging effects of coastal floods are caused by a combination of storm surge, wind, rain, erosion and battering by debris.
Before a Flood
- Avoid building in a flood prone area unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel if susceptible to flooding.
- Install check valves in sewer traps to prevent floodwater from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Contact community officials to find out if they are planning to construct barriers (levees, berms or floodwalls) to stop floodwater from entering the homes in your area.
- Seal the walls in your basement with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage.
- Review your insurance policy. Flood coverage is not part of most homeowner, mobile home or renter’s insurance policies. There is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect.
During a Flood
- Be aware of potential flash flooding. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move to higher ground. Do not wait to be told to move.
- If time allows, prepare your home for a flood by moving essential items to an upper floor, bring in outdoor furniture, disconnect electrical appliances and be prepared to turn off the gas, electricity and water.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle could be quickly swept away.
After a Flood
- After a flood, listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Even if the roadway of a bridge or elevated highway looks normal, the support structures below may be damaged.
- Stay clear of downed power lines and report them to your power company.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly to foundations. Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and other
Floods develop over several hours or several days. Streets can become swift-moving rivers, creating great danger for pedestrians and drivers. With that in mind you should always turn around and NEVER attempt to cross moving flood water-whether on foot or by auto. Just six inches of fast-moving floodwater can knock you off your feet. Two feet of water can sweep an SUV off the road.
Flash Floods occur with little or no warning and are deadly and fast moving. They can begin within the first hours of a rain event, or after a dam or levee failure, or following the sudden release of water held back by an ice or debris jam. Their power can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, scour out new channels and can also trigger catastrophic mudslides.
To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths.
- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire—like pot holders, towels, plastic and clothing—away from the stove.
- Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.
Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
Before a Fire
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your residence.
- Place smoke alarms outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high on the wall (4 to 12 inches from ceiling), at the top of open stairways, or at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near (but not in) the kitchen.
- Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries at least once a year.
- Review escape routes with your family and where to meet outside of the house. Practice escaping from each room in the house.
- Consider escape ladders if your residence has more than one level.
- Teach family members to stay low on the floor (where the air is safer in a fire) when escaping from a fire.
- Store flammable liquids in approved containers in well-ventilated storage areas. Do not smoke near flammable liquids.
- Sleep with your door closed.
- Install fire A-B-C type fire extinguishers in your residence and teach family members how to use them.
During a Fire
- If escaping from a fire, check closed doors for heat before you open them with the back of your hand. Do not open a hot door; escape through a window. If you cannot escape, hang a white or light-coloured sheet outside the window to alert emergency responders to your presence.
- If your clothes catch on fire, you should Stop, Drop, and Roll until the fire is extinguished. Running will only make the fire burn faster.
- Close doors behind you as you escape to delay the spread of the fire.
After a Fire
- If you are with burn victims, or are a burn victim yourself, call 9-1-1; cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection.
- If you detect heat or smoke when entering a damaged building, evacuate immediately.
- If you are a tenant, contact the landlord.
- If you have a safe or strong box, do not try to open it. It can hold intense heat for several hours. If the door is opened before the box has cooled, the contents could burst into flames.
- If you must leave your home because a building inspector says the building is unsafe, ask someone you trust to watch the property during your absence.
Severe Winter Weather
Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Some winter storms are large enough to affect several states, while others affect only a single community. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.
Regardless of the severity of a winter storm, you should be prepared in order to remain safe during these events.
Winter Weather: Know the Terms
- Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible in your area. Tune in to your NOAA Weather Radio, commercial radio or television for more information.
- Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.
- Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on roads, walkways, trees and power lines.
- Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.
- Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.
Before a Winter Storm
- Add winter supplies like rock salt to melt ice and shovels to your disaster supply kit.
- Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
- Have your vehicle serviced to ensure it is prepared for the winter season.
- Medications (7-day supply) and medical items (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc.)
- Place a winter emergency kit in every vehicle that includes: a shovel; windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight; battery-powered radio; extra batteries; water; snack food; matches; extra hats, socks and mittens; first aid kit with pocket knife; necessary medications; blankets; tow chain or rope; road salt and sand; booster cables; emergency flares; fluorescent distress flag.
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
During a Winter Storm
- Stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress in layers of loose fitting, lightweight clothing. Wear a hat that covers your ears. Wear mittens and cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs. Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
- Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
- Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
- Watch for signs of frostbite such as the loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as finger, toes, ear lobes and the tip of your nose.
- Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive, travel in the day, don’t travel alone and keep others informed of your schedule. Decrease your speed and leave plenty of room to stop the vehicle on icy roads.
- If trapped in your car during a blizzard, pull off of the highway and turn on your hazard lights. Remain in your vehicle where rescuers are most likely to find you. Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes each hour to keep warm. When the engine is running, open a downwind window slightly for ventilation and periodically clear snow from the exhaust pipe. This will protect you from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Exercise to maintain body heat, but avoid overexertion. Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
After a Winter Storm
- Listen to your local radio or television station for the latest weather and traffic reports.
- Go to a designated shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold.
- Check on your animals and ensure that their access to food and water is not blocked by snow drifts, ice or other obstacles. Bring them indoors, if possible.
- Be aware of possible carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire if using alternative sources for electricity, heating or cooking.
Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open windw or door.
- Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.