Members of Upper Township’s Community Emergency Response Team attending the Jan. 8 Upper Township Committee meeting included Frank Roach, Richard Stahl, Leon Rominiecki, George Westermann, Joel Dougan, Michael Capito and Ralph Cooper. On Monday, the committee unanimously approved a resolution naming 12 people to the team.

Bill Barlow / For The Gazette

UPPER TOWNSHIP — The Township Committee unanimously approved the creation of a Community Emergency Response Team Jan. 8 and appointed 12 members to serve in 2018.

CERT members train to help fire, police and other rescue services during disasters and emergencies.

Township administrator Scott Morgan, who helped launch the team, said he worked with Ocean City’s emergency management office in 2005 to organize its CERT.

Morgan served as an Ocean City police detective and spent many years with the city’s office of emergency management before taking a job as Upper Township’s OEM coordinator in 2014. He was named the township administrator at the start of 2017.

Morgan said the Ocean City program trained more than 200 civilian volunteers to help in a disaster, providing training in shelter management, CPR, traffic and crowd control, disaster psychology and other areas including what he described as light search and rescue.

At the end of an 11-week course, volunteers go through a disaster simulation exercise and a final exam. They  meet Tuesday evenings, and Morgan said they try to offer the class every 18 months.

“Personally, I am very proud of the diverse people who have gone through our CERT program, and I’m also proud of the fact that Upper Township’s emergency management back in 2014 kind of branched off on our own,” Morgan said at the committee meeting. “We still work hand-in-hand with Ocean City emergency management.”

He said they have a good working relationship, and that Upper Township shelters have helped their barrier island neighbors in storms, citing Hurricane Sandy, when many people from Ocean City were sheltered in Upper Township schools.

Six people had already gone through the course in 2015, Morgan said, and the 12 named in the resolution unanimously approved by Township Committee completed the course in 2017.

They are Wanda Adamson, Joel Dougan, Allison Hartman, Dave Hartman, Alene Hartman, Cathy Lord, Thomas Peck, Susan Phillips, Mike Scanlan, Richard Stahl, Tricia Stover and George Westermann.

“I know these folks put a lot of time into the training and the educational part,” Palombo said.

Also at the meeting Monday, the committee recognized local sports teams for their success. The governing body approved a resolution congratulating the Upper Township hockey team as the 2017 hockey champions for second to fourth grades in the foot division, and the high school-level hockey team as the Cape May County Hockey League High School division champions.

Committee members also honored Rosemary Trout of the township finance department as the winner of the fourth-quarter safety award program for 2017.

The Township Committee unanimously approved a declaration of emergency in the township for the recent winter storm, running from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5.

The blizzard dumped close to a foot of snow on the township and throughout the region, and days of below-freezing temperatures caused numerous problems. In fact, one Township Committee member missed Monday’s meeting because a pipe froze and burst at his house that day, and Township Clerk Barbara Young thanked the Tuckahoe Fire Company firefighters for their help earlier that day when a heater in her home caused a minor fire.

“Their response was very quick, and we certainly appreciate that,” she said. “The firefighters and EMS in this township are second to none.”

Township officials indicated the problems were typical of those experienced by other residents.

“This weather has really created havoc throughout the township,” said Palombo. “Hopefully warmer days are ahead.”

The declaration could help the township recoup some of the expenses of responding to the storm.

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