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Springfield Recaps Hurricane Sandy Response

Board of Commissioners discusses how the storm impacted township.

Several weeks after Hurricane Sandy swept up the East Coast, the Springfield Board of Commissioners thanked service workers and said the township luckily avoided disaster.

"As we all know, this storm will go down in history as one of the worst to hit our area. We just got skirted. We all watched what was going on in South Jersey and New York," Board of Commissioners President Jeff Rudolph said. 

Township employees' efforts, he said, allowed for us "to stay in our homes, stay warm—with or without power, we knew these people were out there, some of them 24 hours straight, just to keep things moving."

The commissioners honored its township departments Tuesday night for their work during the storm, and evaluated Springfield's reaction. 

Because much fanfare greeted the storm, township employees worked the weekend leading up by clearing storm drains and alerting residents in flood prone areas of Sandy's potential and what to do in case of an emergency.

At the apex, about 4,600 properties lost power. Springfield responded to 94 incidents, resulting in 2,279-manned responses, Rudolph said.

During the storm, the township installed portable stop-signs near signal outages. Other employees cleared municipal roads of downed trees. And special needs individuals were assisted by the township. 

True, typical emergency response occurred from Springfield's first responders, but township workers from the country club and parks department also aided public works in clearing trees.

In ways to improve, the Board of Commissioners said the township learned the correct number of emergency notifications needed, as it sent out too many during the storm. 

"We realize we went overboard on the trash information. We now know that one or two messages will accomplish our goal," Rudolph said to a chuckling crowd.

What frustrated some Springfield residents was the waiting game for their power to return. Rudolph said the township kept in contact with PECO, but was at the utility's discretion.

"We share the frustration of those who were without power for several days, but the township can not circumvent the PECO process. There is no special phone number that we have to expedite repairs," Rudolph said.

Following the meeting, Springfield employees were treated to some refreshments for their efforts.

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