by Todd Malland, MPD
Manchester Twp. NJ – As Winter Storm Toby leaves the area, both residents and Township officials have begun to assess the damages left in its wake. Prolonged hours of heavy wet snow and moderate winds caused numerous powerlines and tree limbs to sag or break free and fall to the ground. As of Thursday morning, approximately 1600 residents are without power throughout the township, many of which are on the east end of town. In response to this, the Manchester Township Office of Emergency Management has established a warming station at the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department on Route 571. Residents without heat or electric are encouraged to go there. The warming station is fully staffed with volunteers and coffee, water and donuts are available.
Throughout the night and early morning hours, our officers have been responding to reports of low-hanging or downed power lines and have closed roads where a potential hazard has been located. One such location is on the 1300 block of Broadway Boulevard in Pine Lake Park, where the force of the downed power lines pulled the front façade of residence off. No one in the residence was injured and emergency crews have been dispatched to the area to address the low hanging wires.
Lucky, a beneficial spring-time sun angle as well as warm daytime temperatures should help to quickly melt the heavy, wet snow on tree limbs and power lines. Residents, however, need to be cautious and pay close attention to snow on power lines, tree limbs, and especially on roof tops as rapid melting may cause large amounts of snow to break free and drop unexpectedly. We encourage everyone to be cognizant of their surroundings when outdoors.
Additionally, the Manchester Township Police Department would like to remind our residents to avoid touching or approaching any fallen power line. Downed power lines are dangerous and residents should NEVER touch them. For safety’s sake, always assume that a fallen power line is live, and follow these guidelines:
- Avoid touching the downed line with your hand or an object, such as a stick, broom or pole.
- Avoid touching anything, such as a car, object or equipment, or anyone who is in contact with a fallen power line.
- Keep children and pets away from fallen electric lines.
- Avoid driving over a fallen power line.
- Call the police department immediately to report a fallen power line.
Additionally, residents should stay safe if a fallen power line touches their car. If your vehicle comes in contact with a downed power line, follow these safety rules:
- Stay inside your car. The ground around your car may be energized.
- Sound the horn, roll down your window and call for help.
- Warn others to stay away. Anyone who touches the equipment or ground around your car can be injured.
- Use your mobile phone to call 911.
- Wait until the fire department, police or JCP&L workers tell you it’s safe to get out of your car before exiting the vehicle.