Police Chief Gives Timeline on Hurricane Sandy Response
As Hurricane Sandy threatened the Lehigh Valley, Salisbury Township officials mobilized.
Salisbury Township Police Chief Allen Stiles provided the following timeline for the township's response to Hurricane Sandy:
Monday, Oct. 29: 7 a.m. Beginning at 7 Monday morning (10/29/12), the Salisbury Township Police Department initiated an emergency operation condition and deployed additional patrol units and supervisory personnel. Throughout the day, our admin staff fielded calls from the public with requests for storm related information along with our normal call volume. We began receiving and responding to storm related incidents at 1250 hrs.
3 p.m. The Salisbury Township Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Township Emergency Management Group was activated. Emergency Management Director Jeffrey Tapler (assisted by STPD Sergeant Ronald Patten and Assistant EMA Director Dennis Tackacs Jr.) assumed responsibility for coordinating Police, Fire and Public Works responses to storm related calls. Eastern Salisbury and Western Salisbury Township Fire companies had all of their volunteers and units responding to calls.
Salisbury Township Public Works Director John Andreas stayed on duty throughout the entire storm event and rotated his personnel so that they had full crews available to respond to blocked storm drains, downed trees and requests for barricades. The Police Department maintained our three (3) zone patrol officers and fielded a Special Operations Group of seven (7) officers led by Sergeant Kevin Soberick and assisted by Sergeant Donald Sabo with the Quick Response Service/Emergency Medical Service Unit during the storm. We coordinated emergency services and received assistance from Lehigh Valley Health Network Emergency Operations.
During the next 28 hours, Township Police, Fire and Public Works personnel responded to eighty-three (83) calls. Over forty-five trees were reported down (many discovered by police and fire units responding to other calls) blocking roads across the Township. PPL power poles and lines are down all over the Township (some on roads, on homes and other buildings) and most of the homes and businesses in the Township lost power. At one point, nineteen (19) roads were blocked by trees. Fortunately, the storm did not cause any deaths or significant injuries in Salisbury Township. We passed on all available information to Lehigh County Emergency Management and to PPL throughout the storm.
Tuesday, Oct. 30: 3 p.m. The Township EOC officially closed and additional emergency response and public works personnel were released. Police staffing levels returned to normal. EMA Director Tapler and Police Chief Stiles conducted a Township-wide damage assessment and began preparing necessary reports based upon all storm related information.
Wednesday, Oct. 31: Hurricane Sandy Aftermath: Most roads are open but Public Works crews continue to remove tree limbs and debris from areas across the Township. Police continue to answer storm-related calls along with the normal daily call volume.
As of 10:45 p.m. Wednesday, 2,593 PPL customers were without power, down from a high of 6,231 earlier in the day.
Township Manager Randy Soriano praised the response preparedness of the local police, public works and fire personnel.
“Our EOC, Jeff Tapler, Chief of Police Allen Stiles and PWD John Andreas, along with a dedicated group of hardworking police, public works and fire personnel did a tremendous job in coordinating their efforts during this Hurricane. A special thanks to Lehigh Valley Hospital for providing lunch boxes over the 36- hour period.
"I know what residents are going through, having no power myself, but in these trying times the community must come together and be patient in expecting some interruption in services. The Township will continue to provide assistance during the next week by holding a special branch collection."