For many local residents, one of the greatest challenges of the immediate aftermath of the storm was feeling caged in with no connection to the outside world and no knowledge of what was going on beyond their own line of vision.
For those who don’t have constant internet access and prefer not to listen to the radio, there was no way to determine just how poor road conditions were, whether or not it was okay to drive, and then later on, why in the world there was nary a snow plow to be seen. They were at a loss when it came to their highest priority, namely, keeping their family safe. It was crucial for them to be aware of the environment outside their doors and to have access to vital emergency information.
Therefore, the launching of the Lakewood Civilian Safety Watch’s new Call it Safe weather hotline couldn’t have possibly come at a better time. Activated just before Winter Storm Jonas wreaked its havoc, Call it Safe served as a lifeline for many locals stuck at home with no other access to to vital information regarding the storm and its effects.
From the moment that Shabbos departed from a town blanketed in untouched whiteness, the calls began pouring in. Tens of thousands of callers spent a total of 59,643 minutes on the phone, listening to updates and important bulletins over Motzaei Shabbos, Sunday and Monday, with a total of 12,206 callers on Sunday alone.
Covering everything from safety messages from Hatzolah, school openings and closings, poor road conditions right up to the breaking resignation of the Department of Public Works Director. The hotline also featured candid interviews with Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein and Committeeman Ray Coles, who is also liaison to the Department of Public Works. The interviewer tackled the issue of the DPW’s slow and inadequate response to the storm and didn’t shie away from asking difficult questions.
LCSW’s hotline was constantly updated throughout the day and night, allowing callers to gain access to the most recent and relevant information possible, a service that alleviated much confusion and worry from so many local residents.
While the drama of Jonas is hopefully largely behind us, LCSW’s Call it Safe will continue to be activated for any weather related crises or needs for the duration of Winter 2016.