Abington Township officials met late Friday afternoon to discuss plans for Hurricane Sandy. Abington Police Lt. Tom McNamara, speaking in the operations center under the township building following the meeting, said township departments have been planning for the storm for the last several days.
McNamara, who is also the township’s deputy emergency management coordinator, said the public works department has prepped its equipment, like saws, pumps and generators; the fire marshal’s office has coordinated with the five fire companies; the township will have people staffing the phones all night Monday; and the police department will have extra staffing starting today.
Abington officials also reached out to outside agencies like PECO, the school district (which has cancelled classes today), the Second Alarmers (which will have extra supervisors and ambulances on hand); and the hospitals (which have brought in extra food and medicine and have extra beds available).
The biggest problem facing the township is flooding, according to McNamara.
“It’s not how much we get, but how fast we get it,” McNamara said. “If we get 20 inches of rain in the next couple of days, things will be OK, but if we get two to three inches of rain per hour at any given time, the streams are going to overflow — and there’s no way to predict that.”
Most residents are familiar with the heaviest-hit areas.
“The Baeder, Wanamaker and Roslyn areas are usually hit hard,” McNamara said. “Also Keswick, Ardsley and near the mall — they’re the places where every single storm we get high water and normally have to close roads or lanes until the water goes down.”
Aside from the normal advice like buying batteries and bread and generators, McNamara said to make sure that all of your electronic devices are charged, test your sump pumps and remember to check on your neighbors.
The township’s phone number is 267-536-1000; McNamara said don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
“We have everybody here, and everybody’s going to do what they’ve done in the past,” McNamara said.