CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, NJ —The New Jersey Storm Ready Board has approved an application by the County of Cape May to become a StormReady county. This is the first countywide designation to be approved in the State of New Jersey. The designation not only recognizes the County’s efforts with communication and preparedness for weather-related events, but also provides a means for communities that participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Community Rating System to earn an additional 25 points to help maintain or increase discounts on flood insurance policies.
“This is an exceptional effort by the Cape May County Department of Emergency Management and validates all of the work that has been done to notify County residents in advance, and during, a weather-related emergency”, said Cape May County Commission Director Gerald Thornton. “The StormReady designation offered by the National Weather Service has extremely high thresholds and standards, and we are honored to achieve this designation resulting from our daily communication and storm readiness efforts”.
The StormReady designation will last through March 1, 2025. Various criteria that must be met includes the establishment of a 24-hour warning point which operates through the Department of Emergency Management; the existence of multiple means in which to receive severe weather warnings and forecasts to alert the public; the development of a formal hazardous weather plan; and the creation of a system that monitors weather conditions locally. The County created a partnership with Atlantic City Electric that resulted in emergency alert radios being placed in key locations where the public can receive instant alerts about imminent weather threats.
“This application was made by our Operations Manager Anne Marie Ricco and was certified on our first attempt”, said Cape May County Department of Emergency Management Director Martin Pagliughi. “As a result of Anne Marie’s efforts, the County duplicitous efforts to inform and educate our 16 municipalities on severe weather impacts will save lives, protect property, and assist our communities with lowering flood insurance rates countywide”.
The National Weather Service’s StormReady program was created in response for a need to prevent devastating disasters including hurricanes, severe flooding, and tornadoes. Approximately 90 percent of all presidential declared disasters are weather related and cost the United States billions of dollars annually. The County worked with the office of the National Weather Service in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, to achieve this designation.
The Cape May County Department of Emergency Management recently updated the County’s Hazardous Mitigation Plan by working with all 16 municipalities on needs and threats in their communities. The Department also manages the County Dispatch Center that includes the latest technology including “text to 911” and the ability for the center to pinpoint the exact location of a caller who uses a cellular phone to within 150 feet of the individual’s true location.