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7/6/2012 - Storm Recovery Update - July 6, 2012





CUMBERLAND COUNTY, NJ – Residents in Cumberland County have weathered the storm and are now working on the recovery.  Cleanup is a major task, with so many fallen trees, broken utility poles, downed power wires and debris across the region.  Thousands of residents are still without electrical power.  The Cumberland County Office of Emergency Management is hard at work, coordinating recovery efforts for county residents and providing ice and water to the different municipalities so it can be distributed to county residents who need it.  The County Department Public Works is also very hard at work, clearing downed trees & debris and reopening roads.


The American Red Cross has set up cooling centers throughout the county to provide some relief from the heat.  Cooling centers have been set up across the county and have air-conditioned buildings where you can cool off, get water, and there’s even electricity so you can charge your cellphones and electronics. 


The cooling centers are located across the county. 

  1. In Vineland, the Thomas Wallace School located at #688 N. Mill Road (856) 362-8887 is open as a cooling center around the clock (24 hrs.) for residents. 
  2. In Pittsgrove, the Pittsgrove Municipal Building located at #989 Centerton Road, Elmer (856) 358-2300 is open from 12pm (noon) to 8pm. 
  3. In Fairfield, the Fairfield Elementary School located at 375 Gouldtown Woodruff Road, Bridgeton is open 8am – 8pm as a cooling center. 
  4. In Commercial Township the Laurel Lake Volunteer Fire Department located at 5436 Battle Lane is open from 9am to 10pm and will continue to be open every day until all residents in the area have their electric service restored (856) 825-6767. 

Also, the Cumberland Mall, Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart and other stores have electricity and air conditioning, and will continue to be open during normal hours.


In Vineland, Ice & Water is being provided to City Residents at the Vineland Fire Station #4, located at 1500 East Oak Road, from 8am – 8pm.  Residents must bring their ID with then.


The Cumberland County Health Department is active too, reminding residents to be sure they don’t overdo it in this heat and humidity.  Their message is to hydrate and drink plenty of fluids during hot days like this.  Bottled water is available at most stores, and it’s good to have some on hand for drinking.  Food safety during a power outage is also a concern, the Cumberland County Health Dept. reminds residents that they should throw away all food that’s in their refrigerators and freezers, if you’ve been without electricity.  Also, remember to check on your neighbors and elderly to make sure they’re ok.  Be sure to look after pets and give them plenty of water too.


The Cumberland County Department of Public Safety cautions residents to be careful when using generators.  Never run an internal combustion engine inside your house.  Always run generators outside and away from your house.  Be sure to point the generators exhaust away from your house or windows.  Always shut off the generator and allow it to cool down before refilling it with fuel.  Generators can get very hot, especially during extreme temperatures, and Generator Safety is important.


Utility companies are here in force working to replace downed utility poles and restore electricity to residents.  Progress is being made every day, but residents without electricity and utility crews alike are feeling the heat.  One worker who was clearing debris said he had to carry a towel with him to continually wipe the sweat from his face as he was working.  Another worker said he was here from a different state.


Atlantic Electric reports they now have more than 90% of their Cumberland County customers electrical power restored.  That’s correlates to about 1,200 residents in Cumberland that are still without power.


Vineland Municipal Electrical Utility reports that 18,000 of their customers lost power after the storm Saturday morning, and today there are about 2,600 still without power.  Electric utility crews are working around the clock to restore all areas of Vineland that are still without power.  Also, Verizon repair trucks are here also, replacing utility poles, repairing telephone & FIOS lines, and restoring service.


Comcast service vehicles are also here, repairing cables and restoring internet, telephone and TV service to their customers.  Initially, after the storm, Comcast actually put generators in place at different locations to get internet, cable TV and their phone services up and running again.


“I’m very happy to report that the Department of Public Works has been successful in repairing all of the traffic lights at the intersections and all traffic lights are now working.  Only two are still running on generators but they are working.  Also, almost every street and road that was closed has been cleared and is now reopened, with the exception of County Route 553 in Fairton between Buckshutem Road & Route 49 which is still closed”, said Freeholder Tony Surace, Chairman of the Public Works Committee. 


“Recovery continues for Cumberland County, we’re working as fast as we can with the resources we have and we’re making progress.  Inspectors from the office of the Federal Emergency Management Agency “FEMA” arrived today in Cumberland County and began to assess the damage.  Everyone has really pulled together and we’ve been able to get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time.” said Cumberland County Freeholder Director Carl Kirstein. 


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