Rep. Frelinghuysen attends Essex County Office of Emergency Management re-opening

Original Press Release from Essex County, New Jersey 5/14/14

West Orange, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura announced the renovation and modernization of the Essex County Office of Emergency Management in West Orange. Severely damaged during Hurricane Irene in 2011, the Essex County Department of Public Works redesigned the OEM offices and area storm drains to address the potential for future floods and the Sheriff worked with FEMA and the NJ State Police to secure mitigation funds to fund the facility’s restoration.

“It was ironic that our Office of Emergency Management, where we plan and coordinate our response to emergencies and natural disasters, was severely damaged by a storm. The changes and upgrades address the flooding issues at the facility and the new equipment provides us with enhanced tools and resources to work with our communities,” DiVincenzo said. “Getting this facility back on track was the result of teamwork between our Public Works Department, the Sheriff’s Office and Federal and State emergency response professionals,” he added.

“Hurricane Irene was a learning experience for all of us. As a result of the work to renovate the building and mitigate the flood damage, we have a much more modern facility,” Fontoura said. “I commend everyone for working together to get this done and appreciate the support we received from our State and Federal partners,” he added.

“These are the types of investments that pay off in the future,” Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen said. “I am proud to support the men and women who work in emergency management and make sure we are prepared,” he added.

During the height of Hurricane Irene in August 2011, the Office of Emergency Management, located in Essex County Codey Arena, was overcome with approximately two feet of flood water originating from the nearby Peckman River and Orange Reservoir. The storm severely damaged the facility and raised awareness about the need to address the potential for flooding during future storms.

The Sheriff’s Office secured $475,000 from FEMA and $500,000 from Homeland Security/UASI for the facility’s renovation and the Essex County Department of Public Works redesigned the elevation and storm drains surrounding the Office of Emergency Management, which is located in the rear of Essex County Codey Arena in the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange.

The building was equipped with a raised floor and all computer servers and sensitive equipment was relocated to the second floor. In addition, two emergency generators were installed to provide emergency backup power. The OEM office is now equipped with an Activue Video Wall; has the capability of connecting to video feeds from cable news networks, traffic cameras, FAA flight maps, satellite map images and weather maps; has full dispatch capabilities with every public safety and law enforcement agency in Essex County; is equipped with blueprint scanning equipment to convert paper records into digital files that can be viewed on the Activue Wall or e-mailed to responders in the field.

The Essex County Office of Emergency Management relocated to Essex County Codey Arena in 2009. It occupies the space once used by the New Jersey Devils when the NHL team used the arena as its practice site.