As Mahwah residents are recovering from the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, the township has launched an online crisis map that officials say will help residents alert the town to areas affected by the storm.
The map, which can be accessed from the Mahwah Police website, allows users to pinpoint streets, and identify where there are downed trees, damaged phone poles, downed wires, and road blockages.
Residents can upload descriptions of the damage, and photos, to the map.
Mayor Bill Laforet says the map will not only alert officials to problem areas of the township, but will also be a way for the township to communicate to residents which areas have been cleared.
“People need live, real-time information,” he said. “People can actually watch the map as it gets updated.”
The community seems to be responding to the reporting method. According to Laforet, an hour after the township sent out a text message alert about the crisis map Tuesday, there were 31 spots marked on the map.
Mahwah’s Department of Public Works will begin tree debris and leaf pick-up Wednesday.
Residents are being encouraged to put tree debris and leaves on the curb. Since many of the downed trees in the township are tangled with electrical wires, they will be removed in coordination with Orange & Rockland’s power restoration efforts, officials said.
Also, throughout the storm’s recovery period, the township will continue to send updates to residents using the new Nixle text message alert system, and offer the Mahwah Police Station as a charging station for residents’ cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices.
The PD has been sending out Nixle alerts to let residents know when the charging station is open. To handle the demand for charging, the PD is allowing sections of the township to utilize the station during specified blocks of time. Police say the program has been very popular among residents.
The township is slowly getting back to normal, officials say. Town hall reopens and garbage pick-up resumes Wednesday. Recycling will be suspended Wednesday, as DPW workers are assigned to storm clean-up duties, instead.
"Updates will continue throughout the recovery process," Laforet said. "We are trying to make this process better and easier for residents, and technology is the way to do that."