The tri-boro is beginning to prepare for Hurricane Sandy should the storm hit the northeastern part of the state, as expected, early next week.
Kinnelon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Coordinator Harry Hicks said preparing in advance is important during weather events such as the one predicted. The hurricane is expected to bring rainfall of more than 5 inches to northern New Jersey and winds reaching speeds of 70 mph or higher.
"The likelihood of the storm affecting our area has increased significantly over the past 24 hours," according to a letter sent to emergency officials throughout the county Thursday by Jeff Paul, the director of the Morris County Office of Emergency Management.
In Kinnelon, Butler and Bloomingdale, the potential impact is not yet known, but Hicks said preparation is still important.
"While no one can predict how storms will affect our area, there are things you can do to reduce the storm’s impact on your home and family," Hicks said.
This includes stocking up on supplies, such as matches, flashlights, personal hygiene items and food. It also includes devising a plan for evacuating the home.
"You may be informed by local officials or the Emergency Notification System (ENS) when sheltering is available. Pack a suitcase to take to a shelter," Hicks said.
Butler police Capt. Ciro Chimento said the department has been monitoring the storm and in constant communication with the Butler OEM, Butler Electric Department and Butler Public Schools.
"The severity of the storm remains unclear at this time, thus the Butler police would strongly encourage residents to remain calm and focused," Chimento said. "As more information is received, the Butler police will alert residents of the latest developments."
Chimento also reminded residents to stock up on supplies in case power outages last an extended amount of time.
"Butler police would urge residents to have a supply of fresh batteries/flashlights in the event power failures occur. A battery operated radio would also be suggested to have on hand in order to receive up to date news reports," Chimento said. "Lastly, Butler police would urge residents to remain indoors and keep the roadways clear for emergency personnel and repair crews."
In addition to keeping roadways clear, Hicks said residents can keep their own yards clear of debris to minimize flooding potential.
"Clear gutters and downspouts, check sump pumps for proper operation, test and fuel emergency generators," Hicks said. "Never operate a generator in an enclosed space including basements, garages, or porches. Stay away from downed power lines and have a supply of drinking water available, not reliant on a well pump."
Hicks added that residents should not only worry about themselves, but take care of their neighbors too, if possible.
"Be aware that you have neighbors who are elderly, live alone, or may need assistance," he said.