Freehold: Sheriff Shaun Golden is sending a message out loud and clear during Hurricane Preparedness Week which is May 25 through May 31.

“Preparing, planning and staying informed makes dealing with weather related events that may affect Monmouth County, much easier,” said Sheriff Shaun Golden, whose agency runs the Office of Emergency Management. “As we approach the hurricane season, now is the time to take those basic steps.”

In an effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents during weather related events the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, OEM has taken disaster preparedness further by assisting seniors throughout Monmouth County in the event of an emergency or disaster through the STORM program. Seniors Taking on Readiness Measures, STORM, equips those who are among the most vulnerable population with emergency preparedness information, assists them in creating a family disaster plan, and, provides them with an emergency kit.

“After Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy impacted Monmouth County with mandatory evacuations and the need to shelter residents, it was recognized that many people did not have a family emergency plan,” said Sheriff Golden.

“STORM provides people with the tools to build a plan in an effort to strengthen resiliency, sustainability and expedite recovery during emergencies and disasters.”

During the program, seniors are provided with a family disaster plan booklet, which asks for personal, family, work, medical, insurance, emergency & evacuation related information.
Once the booklet is completed, they are then provided with a free emergency supply kit, which includes basic necessities for use during an emergency. The most recent kits were supplied to seniors in Union Beach on May 27.

“Many residents are well informed and involved, but they fall short in creating a plan and building the kit,” said Mike Oppegaard, OEM Coordinator. “STORM gives them that plan and equips them with the basic necessities in the event they need to go to a shelter. All those tools will lessen the impact on emergency management services during a disaster or emergency.”

With hurricane season beginning June 1, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office is also urging residents to have emergency notifications and public safety information at their fingertips, through the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office Application (app) for smartphones. The application is designed for Android and iOS platforms and can be downloaded for free.

The app provides instant access to sheriff’s office related information, which includes real-time emergency notifications through its integrated push notification system that automatically displays the message on the phone. Users are able to be instantly alerted to weather, or other emergency related situations, from the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and the agency’s Office of Emergency Management.

“It can be challenging during emergency situations to provide consistent, official messages to a large group of residents. In addition to social media and our website, this app is another tool that we utilize to keep the public informed,” said Sheriff Golden.