Tuesday’s weather forecast calls for clear skies and mild temperatures.
The climate in Mahwah one year ago was not so calm.
In the lead up to Hurricane Sandy, residents were stocking up on emergency supplies, monitoring weather predictions, and securing their homes for what analysts called a 'storm of the century.'
On the one-year anniversary of the Superstorm that left much of the township without power for as long as two weeks and caused significant damage to local roadways and Mahwah homes, township officials say they are continuing to learn from the storm.
The police department is in the midst of completing a “gap analysis” of the township’s response to Sandy, Mayor Bill Laforet announced at a township council meeting last week. A draft of the document was given to council members last week, and reviewed by Mahwah’s department heads on Monday, he said.
“What Mahwah experienced [during Sandy] was something very different than what we saw at the shore,” Laforet said when introducing the analysis.
“There was no heat, no electric, no ready-to-eat meals in grocery stores, restaurants were beyond capacity, and purchasing gasoline took hours. Prior to Sandy, storms were managed as they came…this gap analysis seeks to answer one simple question: how could we do a better job?”
According to Police Chief Jim Batelli, who compiled the analysis, it looks at the township’s response to the storm in multiple areas, including meetings it held before the storm to prepare, emergency purchases it made, the allocation of resources and staff, internal communication and communication to residents.
“Given the magnitude and duration, it is our belief that the township functioned well and provided necessary services to the community. All the township departments worked together with one goal and that was to provide our residents with a high level of services during this difficult event,” Batelli said.
“That being said there is always room for improvement. We learned a lot from this storm to improve our response not only for hurricanes but other types of critical incidents.”
Officials said the finalized document will contain specific recommendations on what can be done in the future to respond to disasters like Hurricane Sandy.
“If I had to sum up the most important [lesson] we learned…[it’s] that communication is key. Keeping the residents and business community informed with accurate information about the storm pre-event, during the event and after the event is critical,” Batelli said.
“We can’t change what happens but letting residents know what they can do and where they can get help is very important.”