This story is written by Eric Gordon, Public Affairs Volunteer.
As the Passaic River swelled on March 13, 2010, it became apparent that several local residents would need to be evacuated from their homes. Almost instantaneously, Bound Brook’s Mayor, Office of Emergency Management, Fire and Police Departments worked together to undergo a seven-hour evacuation operation that rescued 327 residents from their flooded homes. According to Jim Suk, manager of the Bound Brook OEM, “All departments – the EMS, police and fire worked extremely well together. Overall, the coordination for rescues was excellent.”
During the evacuation process, first responders waded through the floodwater in order to transport local residents by boat onto waiting buses. The buses then continued to American Red Cross Emergency Shelters in Bound Brook and Raritan. As Mayor Carey Pilato commented, “All it took was one phone call to Amy [Sutton, CEO of the Greater Somerset County Chapter of the American Red Cross]. Everything started into motion immediately – the Red Cross’s planning was exquisite.”
The borough of Bound Brook has seen its fair share of disasters. The town was subject to severe flood damage during Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and the 2007 Nor’easter. Most recently, Bound Brook received extensive flooding due to snowmelt and heavy rains.
While Bound Brook cannot change the forces of nature, its local disaster response and mitigation agencies have done everything in their power to ensure a swift response when the rain begins to fall.
Since the flooding began, the American Red Cross has provided shelter, hot meals, cleaning supplies, and health and emotional care services to the affected communities. Mayor Pilato, who made several visits to the shelter at Bound Brook High School, commented, “The compassion and care on display at the Red Cross shelter was unparalleled.”
Working together, the borough of Bound Brook and the American Red Cross continue to prepare for future flooding. Bound Brook Police Department’s John Bojtos remains optimistic about future relief efforts, “I was in the water as part of the evacuation for over 14 hours during the 2007 nor’easter. This year’s effort was a lot more targeted and effective. I think we continue to get stronger with increased cooperation.”