Tropical Storm Ida Information and Resource Hub

TROPICAL STORM IDA INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

SEPTEMBER 9, 2021 NEWSLETTER UPDATE

UPDATE FROM CRANFORD MAYOR AND CRANFORD OEM

FLOOD DAMAGE ASSISTANCE

Our residents were greatly affected by Tropical Storm Ida and the Township of Cranford is assisting with flood damage in Ida’s wake. We understand how stressful this has been, both financially and emotionally for our residents who have been most impacted by the storm.  This update is to provide you with a comprehensive summary of storm cleanup plans and FEMA information. We are committed to providing you with as much support as we can and will connect you with additional resources as necessary. As we always do, let's continue to support our friends and neighbors during this difficult time and come together as a community to do what is necessary to get through this time. We will do what we can to help you and your family recover.

APPLY FOR IDA ASSISTANCE

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a Major Disaster Declaration for Essex, Hudson, Mercer and Union counties for Ida damages. Cranford residents and businesses are now eligible for direct help from FEMA and have access to greater federal assistance and resources to help rebuild and recover from the effects of the disaster. The fastest and easiest way to apply is by visiting DisasterAssistance.gov or calling 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week. Available assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. The FEMA Fact Sheet provides additional information.
  • Individuals and businesses impacted by Hurricane Ida in Union county are eligible to apply for disaster assistance at the following locations:
    • Union County: Elizabeth O’Donnell Dempsey Senior Community Center, 618 Salem Ave., Elizabeth 07208
    • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

Applicants may submit SBA applications online here. Applicants may also call (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

DISASTER RELIEF

The Township of Cranford Office of Emergency Management (OEM) team and Mayor Kathleen Miller Prunty toured several of the most impacted parts of Cranford with Governor Phil Murphy, US Congressman Tom Malinowski, and members of our NJ State and Union County Delegations.  This is the first step in making federal and state requests for individual and community-wide disaster relief funds. On Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) visited Cranford to conduct a preliminary damage assessment of municipal facilities to determine the magnitude of damage and the impact of the disaster. Next, they will be surveying the flood damage tropical storm Ida inflicted on residents on businesses.  In order to assist in the process, OEM will be launching a data portal to collect and provide basic information on the damages and storm-related losses sustained by our residents, so we can provide the information to FEMA in order to be included as a major disaster area which will make federal funds available to our residents.  

FLOODED DEBRIS REMOVAL

Flooded debris can be placed at the curb for a special storm debris pickup to address the cleanup needs after the storm. In order to best serve our residents in this difficult time, the Township of Cranford will be enhancing our public works capabilities and have contracted with Messercola Excavating Inc. to assist with our flood prone areas. Additional details, including a collection schedule, will be provided daily. They started with Springfield Avenue and side streets and continued clearing safe route for school routes. The hardest hit areas will be prioritized and the whole Town will be cleared of debris.

Items such as food, hazardous waste, propane tanks, or paint will not be accepted. Please keep all debris off of the sidewalk. Tropical Storm Ida flood damage debris ONLY. The Township will be conducting the regular bulk pick-up in October. Union County is conducting a Household Hazardous Waste Collection at Union County College/Cranford on Sunday September 12, 2021. 

           Hazardous Waste Disposal

PUMP OUT ASSISTANCE

The Cranford Fire Department has assisted over 400 Cranford families and continues to have extra staff available to assist residents pump out their basements. If your basement is still flooded, please contact Fire HQ at (908) 709-7360 to be added to the list.

INSURANCE

Homeowners are encouraged to keep a list of damages to structures and contents in anticipation of the federal government declaring an emergency and approving financial assistance for this disaster. FEMA will then assist impacted homeowners through the Individual Assistance programs that offer financial support for damaged structures and contents. If you have experienced loss or damage of property, besides talking to your insurance company to see if you have any applicable coverage, you can call the NJ Department of Financial Services at 1-800-446-7467 and also contact FEMA's Disaster Assistance Improvement Program at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Additional information can be found at https://www.fema.gov/disaster/3573The National Flood Insurance Program - Flood Insurance Claims Handbook (FEMA F-687) provides information on how to take advantage of the insurance policy you purchased, if or when you experience a flood — whether you are a homeowner, renter, or business owner. Here is the link https://www.fema.gov/sites/default/files/2020-05/FINAL_ClaimsHandbook_10252017.pdf

MENTAL HEALTH AND PERSONAL WELLNESS

This storm and the ongoing recovery can have an effect on your mental well-being, your children's well-being, or your neighbor's well-being.  The Township of Cranford OEM would like residents to be aware of a great resource for mental health from the Center for the Study of Traumatic StressMental Health Resources to Support Response and Recovery from Hurricane Ida.

NJ Mental Health Cares at 1-866-202-HELP (4357) also offers free and confidential help. Additionally, by calling 2-1-1 or accessing www.nj211.org, residents can find a clearinghouse of information and resources organized by the State of New Jersey on the following topics:

Housing
Income
Food
Childcare
Health
Mental Health
Substance Use
Legal

ROAD CLOSURES

Certain roads and intersections in the Township will remain closed or open to local traffic only until water subsides and the area is deemed safe. Please continue to exercise caution in areas of standing or ponding water, in addition to keeping an eye out for utility trucks working to restore power on our Township roadways.

Building Permits

Due to the unprecedented flooding caused by Hurricane Ida and the damages experienced by Cranford residents, the Township will expedite permits for storm recovery and waive fees for certain flood related items such as boilers, HVAC, and water heaters. 

It is understood that certain work must be done immediately, and therefore a permit may be submitted after the work has started per the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code (N.J.A.C. 5:23) as “Emergency Work”. However, you must notify the Building Department within 24 hours and permits should be submitted to our office within five (5) business days. Verification of damage will assist the Building Department in determining the validity of the damage and photos should be provided. Please contact the Building Department by telephone (908) 709-7213 or email building@cranfordnj.org.

Permit applications are available at https://www.cranfordnj.org/building-department/pages/forms.

Permits for these items are still required and necessary to ensure the safety of our residents. Permits are also required for demolition and removal of flood damaged building materials, such as drywall, kitchen, and bathroom cabinets, plumbing fixtures, and any electrical or mechanical equipment for heating and cooling. 

Additional information on some of the most common types of permit applications, can be found on the Helpful Handouts page at https://www.cranfordnj.org/building-department/pages/helpful-handouts.

For suspected structural damage or foundation issues that are an immediate hazard, contact the construction official at f-genova@cranfordnj.org or 908-709-7213. If substantial damage is suspected (damages that exceed 50 percent of the value of the building, land not included) contact the Township Floodplain Administrator, Jacque Dirmann at  jacqueline.dirmann@colliersengineering.com

​HOT SHOWER

The Township of Cranford and Swim Pool Utility have arranged for both Cranford Swim Pools to open their showers to Cranford residents affected by Tropical Storm Ida.  Residents may show up to Orange Avenue Pool at 1025 Orange Avenue, or Centennial Avenue Pool at 401 Centennial Avenue. Membership not required.

GAS METER SAFETY

To ensure the safety of all customers and to avoid preventable fires and explosions, Elizabethtown Gas and its subcontractors are conducting safety inspections of gas meters in affected areas. If a customer sustained flood damage that resulted in their meter being submerged, that customer’s meter will need to be changed.  Elizabethtown Gas is performing safety checks in areas known to be impacted by the storm and may need to interrupt service for affected customers.  For any questions or emergencies related to your gas service utility, please contact Elizabethtown Gas at (800) 242-5830.

DISABLED VEHICLES

Please remove disabled vehicles from the roadway as soon as possible. Contact your insurance company for additional procedural information. Every large provider has procedural information on their website and there are a number of local service stations offering towing services. Be sure to follow any and all vehicles manufacturer guidelines before attempting to start your vehicle especially electric/hybrid vehicles.

HELPFUL LINKS

NEW JERSEY TROPICAL STORM IDA INFORMATION AND RESOURCES - https://www.nj.gov/ida/

FEMA - https://www.fema.gov/disaster/hurricane-ida

New Jersey Office of Emergency Management - http://ready.nj.gov/index.shtml

NJ 211 - https://www.nj211.org/tropical-storm-ida NJ resources associated with recovery from the storm on this page as we receive it from our state and local partners.

CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS

CRANFORD FAMILY CARE - Cranford Family Care has been helping local families in need since 1936. Township residents in need of food or assistance as a result of the flooding caused by the storm, can reach out to CFC at https://www.cranfordfamilycare.com/ or 908-276-3530.

FLAG FOR CRANFORD - FLAG is assisting residents by organizing volunteers willing to help with clean out and other tasks that homeowners cannot do themselves. For up-to-date volunteer opportunities, go to the FLAG for Cranford Facebook page.

CRANFORD JAYCEES VOLUNTEER EFFORT - The Cranford Jaycees, a local nonprofit, are organizing teams of volunteers to help Cranford families affected by Tropical Storm Ida remove water damaged material from their homes. You can sign up to volunteer by clicking here and the Jaycees will follow-up to schedule. You do not need to be a Jaycee member to sign up.