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Thank you to everyone who helped us prepare for the storm

Posted on January 11, 2024


Borough of Somerville Flood Update January 9 to 10, 2024

The Office of Emergency Management coordinated all emergency activities during the first storm of the year, which lasted for approximately 24 hours.

Timeline

  • January 8 – Emergency Management Committee met at 4 pm to review plans
  • January 9 – OEM committee met at 5 pm and declared a local state of emergency. Rain developed around midday, with the heaviest rain during the evening. Low lying areas started to flood.
  • January 10 – Rain stopped, but rivers and streams continued to rise. Flooding continued in parts of Somerville. The declaration of emergency was rescinded at 5:30 pm.
  • January 11 – Staff and volunteers started to clean up, return equipment, document losses and prepare reports

Emergency Operations Center (EOC)

The former council chambers at the police station served as the command center. The EOC was open and staffed for 20 hours by Brian Gallagher (Mayor) and Bryan O’Neill (OEM Deputy Coordinator). Support was provided by: Glen Denys (Councilmember), Kevin Sluka (Administrator), Jim Barry (EMS), Bobby Lynn (Fire Marshal), Dennis Manning (Police Chief), Vito Spadea (Officer), Darrin DiPalma (Sergeant), Anthony Brattole (Lieutenant) and Christopher Gelardi (Sergeant).

Storm preparation and management

The OEM coordinated with Borough employees, volunteers, partner agencies, local businesses and residents to prepare for this storm.

Department of Public Works (DPW)

  • Relocated equipment to different areas, including Clarks Woods
  • Dropped off barricades at locations where we anticipated flooding
  • Provided police with additional sandbags and barricades
  • Delivered cots and shelter supplies to the middle school

Police Department

  • Provided locations for barricades
  • Notified residents (using megaphones) to relocate cars and evacuate
  • Prepped command center and radios for communications

Fire Department

  • Relocated and moved equipment
  • Staffed 4 fire houses from 6 pm to 6 am in case an overnight response was needed

Rescue Squad/Emergency Medical Services

  • Relocated and raised all equipment at the squad house
  • Staffed and prepared vehicles to respond outside flood zones
  • Provided radios for communications and monitoring

Administration

  • Kevin Sluka (Administrator) coordinated with DPW and the Fire Department to relocate all equipment. He also organized supplies for the Citizen Animal Response Team.
  • Bryan O’Neill (OEM Deputy Coordinator) coordinated truck logistics and EOC operations.
  • Patty Hunt (Public Information Officer) provided residents with storm updates, over 3 days, via email, the borough website, and social media. She created information flyers in English and Spanish for distribution by Jennifer Montano (Parking Enforcement Officer).

Board of Education

  • Provided access to schools for possible shelter needs
  • Notified families about the impending storm and shared information provided by the Borough
  • Coordinated school closure/delays and remained in constant contact with the OEM

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

  • Coordinated shelter preparations with school officials
  • Pat Mannion (Shelter Coordinator) prepped entire team to be ready at any hour, if needed, and personally stored all shelter supplies

County/State OEM

Opened online portals and communications for resource requests and common notifications between all municipalities.

Thank you!

Many people worked behind-the-scenes before, during and after the storm. Thank you to everyone who helped us prepare for this storm, including the residents and businesses that provided space to store our equipment.

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