So far – knock on wood – the winter of 2012-13 has been a relatively quiet one. We know, however, that at any moment, Mother Nature could come knocking, bringing with her more than just a little snow, sleet and ice, and wreaking havoc on our lives.
Residents can rest assured, however, that Cherry Hill Township is always ready to respond when inclement weather of any kind rears its ugly head. With the help of the Township’s first-class Department of Public Works (DPW) and cooperation from conscientious homeowners, we can all work together to navigate the wintry weather as painlessly as possible.
On the Township’s part, snow preparations begin days in advance, as the Office of Emergency Management and DPW closely monitor the weather forecast and its potential implications for our area. Trucks are outfitted with plows and salt spreaders, and crews are put on standby to clear 20 zones that span nearly 260 miles of local roads. The goal in all cases is to allow business, traffic and life to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
A few helpful items to note:
• Unfortunately, plows cannot avoid depositing some snow into driveway aprons. This snow is the homeowner’s responsibility to clear; as such, we ask that you wait until plows have made at least two passes on your street before shoveling.
• Cars should be parked off-street from one hour after the snow begins to fall, until 12 hours after the storm has stopped. This allows plows to more efficiently clear your street, and prevents cars from being boxed in by plowed snow.
• Snow should be shoveled or blown off of sidewalks and onto your lawn – not into the street. Shovel snow to the right side of your driveway (facing the street) to minimize the amount of plowed snow that might enter your driveway.
• When accumulation is significant, please shovel the area around your mailbox and fire hydrants, as well.
For homeowners, adhering to the Township’s property maintenance regulations can greatly reduce the effects of heavy snowfall. Failure to follow these rules can cause injuries or property damage, and violations are subject to property maintenance fines and court summonses.
Snow and ice should be cleared from sidewalks within 48 hours of the storm’s end. Many elderly and disabled residents may find this task difficult – so please, as you are clearing your own property, consider checking in on neighbors you know might need assistance.
Additionally, removing dead or dying trees reduces the likelihood that one will fall and block a street – or, worse, damage power lines and knock out electricity to nearby homes. By law, homeowners must remove any dead or decaying tree – and healthy trees must be kept trimmed to avoid interfering with utility wires, sight lines, or the flow of traffic. Never attempt to trim a tree that is near a power line; instead, contact PSE&G at (800) 350-PSEG (7734) so a specially trained tree crew can be dispatched.
And, of course, remember that travel should be restricted whenever hazardous conditions exist. When driving is unavoidable, use caution and your best judgment. Drive slowly, allow extra time to reach your destination, and leave ample space between yourself and other vehicles. Make sure your car is winterized, as well. A comprehensive emergency preparedness checklist is available at www.ready.gov/winter-weather.
While Cherry Hill is responsible for maintaining local roadways, please note that several roads are maintained by either Camden County or the NJ Department of Transportation. To report issues on a municipal roadway, please contact DPW at (856) 424-4422. A list of roads that are maintained by Camden County and the New Jersey Department of Transportation is available at www.CherryHill-NJ.com.
During any weather emergency, my office sends relevant news and updates through a variety of outlets. Bookmark our website, and use the “Notify Me” feature to sign up for e-mail alerts. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-the-minute alerts.
For more information on Township weather preparations or any other issue, call my office at (856) 488-7878, or email me directly at MayorCahn@chtownship.com. Thank you for reading this week’s column, and remember that by working together, we can weather any storm.