As the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy approaches, municipalities throughout New Jersey continue to assess what they learned from that natural disaster and Hurricane Irene, which hit New Jersey in 2011.
Among the health concerns that emerged from Sandy was whether older homes that became flooded posed a health risk due to the presence of lead paint and other toxins. To help Jersey City better gauge the risk posed by such situations, the federal government has awarded the city a Social Services Block Grant to assist with environmental investigations related to Superstorm Sandy.
The $989,428 in federal funds, which was allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services, will assist the city in monitoring the health impacts of Hurricane Sandy, specifically through blood lead screening. Following the hurricane, concern grew that children could be exposed to lead due to damages in older homes and outdoor environments.
Following Superstorm Sandy, concern grew that children could be exposed to lead due to damages in older homes and outdoor environments.
“Thousands of families were affected by Superstorm Sandy and the city is working closely with the state and the federal government to develop ways for an urban area like ours to mitigate the impact of a potential future hurricane,” Mayor Steven Fulop said in a statement. “But equally important to the mitigation strategies is understanding the health impacts a storm like Sandy has on our population so we can best assist our residents.”
The funding was awarded from the federal government through New Jersey and was awarded to municipalities that experienced severe flooding from Hurricane Sandy. As part of the grant, the city’s health department will conduct blood lead testing, case management for affected families, environmental investigations such as soil testing, and home inspections.
Fulop said his administration will establish a centralized grants office to pursue similar resources of funding so the city can pursue larger and more competitive grants.
“We recognize that we cannot do everything with tax dollars and as a government we need to become more diligent in leveraging federal, state and county as well as private grant dollars,” said Mayor Fulop. “This is an example of how we are moving in that direction.”
In an effort to help residents stay up to date with developing emergencies, the city has also replaced the old C-3 Alert system with Gov-Interact, also known as Gov-I, which, in the event of an emergency, will provide information residents will need to evacuate, seek shelter, and find such emergency resources as food and water. To sign up for Gov-I, visit https://jerseycitynj.my.gov-i.com/login.
The city is also rolling out an e-mail blast system that will send out e-mails to residents who ask to be informed of citywide or ward-specific issues. City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said last week that this e-mail system is not yet up and running but will be operational in the coming months
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.