Get Storm Preparedness Info at Township Table at LBIfest
An information booth on flood insurance and storm preparedness will be set up at LBIfest on Saturday, June 9, by Long Beach Township emergency management officials. The LBIfest will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Long Beach Township Municipal Complex and Bayview Park, 68th Street and Long Beach Boulevard in Brant Beach.
Getting information out to the public is a key part of storm “readiness,” as it’s called – especially considering an Island population of 100,000 or more in the summer. In fact, information booths at LBIfest and Chowderfest help qualify the township for points that in turn have lowered flood insurance premiums for the township’s homeowners. Those homeowners have been receiving a 20 percent discount on their flood insurance premiums since 2008 as a result of the township’s participation in the Community Rating System of the National Flood Insurance Program, said JoAnne Tallon, CRS coordinator. Most neighboring municipalities have reached the 15 percent discount level.
“Hurricane season” started June 1, but hurricane preparedness is on local officials’ minds all year, by necessity. An action plan is updated every year by the township’s Floodplain Management Committee, which consists of the township engineer, police chief and other officials.
One new note in the 2012 Action Plan adopted recently is the place of social media as an effective way to inform the public of emergency procedures, such as mandatory evacuation.
“The township Office of Emergency Management will also be utilizing social media such as Facebook and Twitter to get the word out during emergency events,” says a line in the “public information” section of the 2012 Action Plan.
“Our plans are to have Facebook, Twitter and YouTube up and running on the township’s website very shortly,” said Long Beach Township Police Patrolman James “Butch” Hartmann. “By adding these three sources, we will be able to provide residents with quick, updated information along with some video. Using today’s technology, we are able to reach a larger audience in a more accurate and personal fashion.”
Hartmann and Patrolman Brendan Kerlin are the new deputy coordinators for Long Beach Township Emergency Management. Coordinator is Chief of Police Michael Bradley. (There is also a township Emergency Planning Committee headed by the coordinators.)
The police department website LBTPD.org describes Nixle, another information system that will give daily updates via e-mail and text messages to people who sign up.
For those who can’t make it to LBIfest, information is also available on the website longbeachtownship.com; click the “flood awareness” tab on the left.
Also, the latest publications for flood insurance and flood protection and regulations are made available to the public at the Ocean County Library branch in Surf City and at town hall, 68th Street and Long Beach Boulevard, Brant Beach.
“It was suggested that additional outreach could be achieved through the electronic newsletters generated by the LBI Business Alliance,” Tallon said. “That will be coordinated in the future by a committee yet to be formed for the Island-wide outreach that is required under the new 2012 CRS manual for outreach credit in the future.”
Township Engineer Frank Little of Owen, Little & Associates led the committee through the action plan items at the recent meeting. Many are ongoing, and too numerous to list here, but they include street sweeping (the township recently acquired two new street sweepers through a grant and through sharing the services with Beach Haven); beach replenishment (the project between 31st and 57th streets in Brant Beach is scheduled to be finished by June 15); storm drain repair (Ocean County added drainage on the Boulevard at 100th Street and from 105th to 107th streets, and the township installed new drains on East 69th and West 79th streets.)
The township’s Office of Emergency Management holds an annual meeting inviting contractors and architects to go over the latest local ordinances and building code changes, as well as federal and state regulations. That meeting is usually held in the spring, but will be in the fall this year, at a date to be announced.
Yet another outreach program is the popular summer presentation by a meteorologist from the National Weather Service – that date also will be announced soon.
— Maria Scandale