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Matawan-Aberdeen CERT Volunteers Help Township Field 250 Calls During Sandy

During the worst of the storm, the CERT volunteers assisted the Emergency Office of Communications

Matawan-Aberdeen Community Emergency Response Team volunteers crammed in to a tiny radio room at the Aberdeen Dist. 1 Fire Co. on Lloyd Road while Sandy made landfall and then barreled through Monmouth County.

CERT is a volunteer branch of the Office of Emergency Management. According to Aberdeen Township's website, members are trained to respond to emergencies and can provide "critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site."

As the wind whipped and the tides surged, they manned the radios and phones alongside Fire Chief Gary Bellone and OEM Communications Coordinator Herb Caravella, who ran the Emergency Office of Communications. They logged downed trees and wires, recorded reports of flooding and kept communications running smoothly.

All in all, the Emergency Office of Communications fielded approximately 250 calls and reported every single instance of downed wires to JCP&L.

"There were hours here where there were just back to back calls," Caravella said.

Caravella, who is also the CERT Coordinator, was happy to see his team of volunteers band together to help their community, noting that there was a true feeling of togetherness between all of the emergency response teams.

"It's fantastic that all the town's fire, police, EMS and volunteers worked together. You have to with something like this," he said.

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