Camden County under Code Blue as Snow Removal Continues

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(Gloucester Township, NJ) – The snowfall from the powerful nor’easter storm system has ended in most areas, and Camden County remains under a Code Blue through Sunday night. Even though Camden County offices closed at 12:30 today, it was all hands-on-deck for employees of the Department of Public Works and Office of Emergency management addressing storm-related concerns.

“The storm has left strong winds and dangerously low temperatures in its wake. Overnight lows will be in the single digits making it unsafe for anyone to be outdoors for an extended period of time,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services. “The Camden County Health Officer has issued a Code Blue signaling municipalities to open their warming center according to our action plan.”

When the Camden County Health Officer declares a Code Blue, municipalities with homeless populations, situational homeless or transient populations are expected to activate their Code Blue response plan to accommodate their immediate needs.

“During these extreme weather conditions, we encourage everyone to check on elderly or handicapped relatives and neighbors that live alone, and bring your pets indoors” Rodriguez said. “It is important that the most vulnerable among us are not left without heat or electricity.”

Persons seeking shelter in a warming center should contact their local municipality. Additional resources are available by calling the Camden County Department of Health and Human Services at (800) 999-9045, or by visiting www.camdencounty.com.

“The Camden County Office of Emergency Management has also been monitoring the storm and offer the following tips to deal with extreme temperatures:

  • Dress in layers and cover your exposed skin to avoid frostbite.
  • It only takes 30 to 45 minutes for exposed skin to develop frostbite.
  • Mittens keep children’s hands warmer than gloves.
  • Avoid wearing cotton, it holds in moisture and loses its insulating properties.
  • Remember that even clear-looking sidewalks can be slippery.
  • Keep dog walks brief, don’t leave animals outside and consider a dog coat.
  • Please check on your neighbors, especially those that are elderly, disabled or live alone.
  • Using your ceiling fan clockwise on low recirculates warm air through the room.
  • Never use a stove, oven or a gas grill to heat your home.
  • Use space heaters safely on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away. Turn off space heaters before going to bed.
  • Wood -burning fireplaces should have a glass or metal screen large enough to catch sparks or rolling logs. Never leave children alone in the room when a fire is lit. Keep all flammable items at least three feet away from the fireplace. Always make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Keep your thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid the costly repair of pipes that freeze and burst.
  • To prevent pipes from freezing, run water, even at a trickle. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing, but be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
  • In order to conserve electricity, turn off lights and appliances that you do not need or are not using.
  • At night, cover windows with drapes or blankets to minimize heat loss. During the day, open blinds to let sun warm the space.

Since the storm began, over 100 pieces of equipment have been operating in all 12 winter weather districts treating and plowing more than 1,200 lane miles of county roadway. 

“Our public works crews are continuing to brave the elements to keep roadways passable across Camden County. Their job has been compounded by the gusting wind and drifting snow,” Shin Angulo said.  “Motorists should continue to make every effort to stay off the roads. The continuous high-speed wind gusts limits visibility and makes roads extremely slick and dangerous. If driving is absolutely necessary, we ask that motorists leave at least six car lengths behind our trucks while they work.”

The Camden County Freeholder Board offers assistance to senior citizens and disabled residents who are unable to remove significant amounts of snow accumulation from their properties.

“The snow removal program is available to help seniors and disabled individuals get out of their homes for necessities such as prescriptions or medical appointments,” said Freeholder Jonathan Young, liaison to the Camden County Department of Corrections.  “The program uses Camden County Jail inmates who are carefully screened, non-violent offenders who are guarded at all times on the job site by corrections officers.”

  • The Snow Removal Program will go into effect only after 4 inches of snow has fallen on the ground in our area.
  • At-risk senior and disabled residents can contact the Camden County Division of Emergency Management at (856) 783-4808 ext. 5060, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
  • Calls for snow removal will not be taken until after it has stopped snowing.
  • Work Crews will be dispatched only after it has stopped snowing.  The work crews will remove snow only during daylight hours from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Crews will respond to calls in the order they are received and will service as many residents as possible each day.  There are no guaranteed times when the crews will arrive at a residence.
  • Senior and Disabled residents must call after each substantial snowfall to request this service.

The Department of Corrections will supply the needed equipment.  The program does not supply salt or ice-melting chemicals, but crews will dispense them if supplied by residents.  Contact and conversation between the inmates and the public are prohibited.  Gratuities and gifts or money, food, drink or any other item is strictly prohibited.

In the event that the weather causes isolated power outages, please remember to immediately call your utility company so they can identify the location and coordinate crews to restore your power. This storm has the potential to bring down trees and power lines. Residents need to be extra cognizant of any power failures. Below are numbers and contact info for the two power providers in Camden County:

As always, please use 911 for emergencies only. If you see a problem on a county road, please call our 24-hour hotline at (856) 566-2980 to report it to DPW. 

Continue to check www.camdencounty.com through the storm for weather and road condition updates.  Information will also be provided through Facebook and Twitter.