Point Boro: Call New Phone # for Storm Questions
Do not call police for non-emergency questions or problems
Point Borough residents are urged to call a new phone number for any non-emergency questions or problems related to Hurricane Sandy.
Residents are urged to call the new number, (732) 899-4935, for the Emergency Operations Center just set up in the Point Boro First Aid Squad building, or email volunteers at email@example.com, for any non-emergency problems or questions regarding Hurricane Sandy, said Kiel Arnone, deputy Borough Emergency Management Coordinator, a volunteer who will be manning the phone.
Arnone's request echoes an even stronger plea made earlier today by Borough Police Chief Larry Williams.
"People have to stop calling our department for non-emergencies," Williams said after a meeting with other officials at Borough Hall. He said dispatchers have been so deluged with non-emergency calls that it's making it difficult to answer and act quickly on emergency phone calls.
"They should only call us for true emergencies," Williams said.
Residents should use the new number for all non-emergency problems and questions, such as questions about how the storm is expected to impact the Borough, whether to evacuate, where to go, where there are shelters, or concerns about being able to evacuate, due to health problems, the lack of transportation or any other related matters.
There is no call waiting feature on the phone number, so callers are asked to be patient and try again if they get a busy signal.
Arnone, a lifelong Borough resident, will be manning the phone 24/7 as long as there is a need.
When asked when he will sleep, Arnone, a volunteer, pointed to a sleeping bag on the floor next to his work station and said, "This is where I'll take naps."
If Arnone does get a call that is an emergency, he can immediately radio police, first aid or fire in the Borough or other towns in Ocean County. Just before the radio was set up on Sunday afternoon, Arnone got his first phone call on the new number, which had been posted on the squad's Facebook page.
The call was from a woman who wanted information on the wind forecasts and how and when they would impact the local area. She was also concerned about whether to evacuate and how she would get to a shelter.
"Don't worry," Arnone told her. "If you need a ride to a shelter, call back and I'll get you there."
Arnone ran a similar EOC operation last year during Tropical Storm Irene.
Andrew Welsh, Point Boro First Aid Squad Captain, said he was making plans for one or two volunteers to help field calls to the new number if Arnone has to go out on a call. Welsh and other volunteers were planning staffing schedules, loading up on food, fielding emails and calls and otherwise planning for Sandy.
Point Borough is strongly urging all residents south of Bridge Avenue and in any low-lying areas, such as Sunshine Harbor and Bay Head Shores to evacuate as soon as possible. The town may impose a mandatory evacuation order for those residents by 4 p.m. Monday.
Borough police, fire, first aid, school and government officials are meeting again at 9 a.m Monday to re-evaluate the forecasts, plans and make any adjustments that may be needed.
For information on the Borough's temporary curfew, alcohol sales ban and shelter locations in the Borough and throughout the region, click here.