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Ridgewood OEM Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Q. Does the Village of Ridgewood have a lightning detection system?

A.The Village of Ridgewood along with the Ridgewood Board of Education has purchased a lightning detection system to warn citizens of impending storms. Click here to see the presentation on how the system works.

Preparedness Questions:

Q. What should I do to be prepared in case of an emergency?

A. Everyone should prepare an “emergency response plan” for themselves for both home and office. This plan should include who you will contact out of the area should an emergency occur, family emergency numbers, school contacts, an emergency meeting place for the family, and local contacts. Other pertinent information specific to you might include medical information, such as chronic conditions, medications that you use regularly and physician/pharmacy phone numbers. Make sure you discuss your plans with your loved ones and co-workers and give them copies of your plan. Individuals should prepare an Emergency Response Plan for both the home and office.

Information is available on the Village of Ridgewood OEM website www.oem.ridgewoodnj.net to assist you in formulating your plan. To further assist you, helpful links are also available to the Department of Homeland Security and the New Jersey State Police. In an emergency, the Ridgewood OEM web site and local TV/radio stations will provide emergency information.

You also want to be prepared to “shelter in place” for 3 days. To shelter comfortably, you will want to have the basics: 1 gallon of water per person per day, food and manual can opener, a week’s supply of prescription medication, battery powered radio, with extra batteries, extra batteries for hearing aids or other assistive devices, flashlight with extra batteries, a list of contacts with family members, friends, doctors, and first aid supplies. Any items you normally use that you would need for 3 days should an emergency occur should also be included. If you have a pet, you will need 3 days supply of food and water for each pet. Should you have to evacuate, these supplies should go with you. More extensive lists and information can be found on websites dealing with preparedness, such as www.ready.gov

It is also a very good idea to have a “go bag” ready in case you have to evacuate either your home or work place. This small bag could include those personal items you would need if you had to leave without any notice as well as copies of financial records, pet’s veterinarian records, extra keys for house and car, cash, spare glasses or other special needs items, such as medications, batteries for assistive devices and copies of family documents.

For sheltering longer than 3 days, or if you have to evacuate, you may also want to include blankets and bedding, garbage bags, extra sets of clothes, pet carrier, litter, bags, water for pets, and personal hygiene items with the go bag items.

Q. Why is planning so important?

A. It is everyone’s responsibility to be prepared for any emergency. Initially, emergency services will be consumed with responding to the disaster. It is up to each of us to prepare. Planning in advance will help you, your family and friends manage an emergency in a calm and effective way, which will help keep you safe.

Q. How can I obtain information in an emergency?

A.  There are several ways to get information in an emergency. You may visit the Ridgewood OEM website. In addition, local TV stations will broadcast emergency alerts. Ridgewood OEM utilizes a message system that is capable of sending alerts and notifications to residents via telephone voice message, SMS text messaging and email.

If you have a hearing loss, you may also want to consider purchasing a close captioned battery operated TV should your power go out.

Q. I have a disability. If there is an emergency at work, what should I do to be prepared there?

A. Make sure you have a “go bag” at work, so if you have to shelter in place, or evacuate, you will have your necessary supplies. Make sure you have prepared in advance, your emergency response plan.

Ask your supervisor for the company’s emergency plan and make sure you understand fully what their plans and policies are. You may also want to plan and practice an evacuation if the company does not routinely offer drills.

If you have to evacuate and will need assistance, make sure you plan with a co-worker or two in advance so they can provide assistance.

Q. I use a wheelchair and live alone. What should I do to be prepared in case of emergency?

A. You should be prepared to shelter in place for 3 days using the above supplies as a guide. Visit the web sites mentioned previously for additional information regarding supplies. In addition, you should make sure you have an emergency response plan that you have prepared in advance with a friend, neighbor, or family member who can provide assistance to you, in the event of an emergency where you are unable to manage alone.

Q. I have a vision impairment. How will I get information during an emergency?

A. You may want to purchase a NOAA radio which provides audible weather alerts. 1010 WINS AM on your radio will also provide emergency information.

Shelter In Place Questions:

Q. What does Shelter in Place mean?

A. Shelter in place is a protective action designed to use an indoor facility and its indoor atmosphere to shield people from a hazardous outdoor environment. This is a short term measure, measured in hours and not days, which will protect the occupant until the hazard passes. If an accident, such as a chemical spill, or an attack creates a dangerous contaminated environment outdoors (such as a radiological release), everyone should be brought inside and the doors and windows closed. The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) should be shut down to create a neutral air pressure environment, which will help prevent the contaminated air from entering the facility.

Q. Who must have a shelter in place plan?

A. All government work sites, businesses, nursing homes and assisted-living facilities are required by law to have an established plan to deal with sheltering in place and evacuation. This plan should be included as an annex to the Emergency Response Plan for each work site.

Q. Why Shelter in Place?

A. Sheltering in place is a rapid and effective means of protecting the building occupants from an external threat. To evacuate the facility could expose employees to a greater danger in the external environment.

Q. Does Shelter in Place work?

A. Of the 35 major chemical accidents in the US over the last 20 years, there has not been a single fatality among individuals who have sheltered in place. (National Institute for Chemical Studies, June 2001).

Evacuation Questions:

Q. What if the Village has to be evacuated? What will the Village do for me?

A. In the unlikely event an evacuation order is issued, communication to the public is of the utmost importance. An evacuation order would specify the perimeters of the area to be evacuated as well as directing residents to available shelters. Residents of areas not in the defined area might be directed to stay where they are (shelter-in-place).

Although dealing with any disaster in the Village will be paramount, the continuity of operations of the Village Government must be maintained. Our emergency support functions, which include all agencies, have established contingency plans to maintain operations to the entire Village, even those who may not be affected by disaster.

Q. Does the Village of Ridgewood have shelters if we have to evacuate or relocate?

A. The Village of Ridgewood has numerous facilities that have been identified and can be equipped to serve as shelters. These locations are not published in advance as many factors will determine which shelter(s) would be opened. Some of these factors include the size and severity of the disaster, the location of the disaster area and the numbers of people requiring shelter. All pre-designated shelters are ADA accessible. When the determination is made as to which shelter(s) to open, the community will be informed via traditional media, the Ridgewood OEM website and Emergency Alert System.

Q: My neighbor has no radio, television, or phone? How will he/she get the word of an evacuation?

A: If an evacuation is ordered, and time is available, emergency personnel with public address systems will enter the perimeter of the defined area and attempt to spread the word. Knock on your neighbor’s door prior to leaving the area and assist in her evacuation.

Q: What can community members do to help evacuate themselves and others?
A: Maintain your sense of community. Use your vehicle to provide transportation to others. Do not add to traffic gridlock. If you are not in an area affected by the evacuation, stay where you are, shelter-in-place. Listen to the media for updates as circumstances change.

Q. Where can I find a copy of the Village of Ridgewood Emergency Plans?

A. At this time there are no public Emergency Plans posted online.