Council receives FEMA training at recent meeting

Township acted after massive tornado two years ago

Deptford council members got special Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) training after their meeting on Aug. 21 in order to better prepare for natural disasters.

The council, as well as Mayor Paul Medany, trained with a Deptford police officer who is a FEMA-certified instructor. The meeting itself was shortened in order to make room for the sessions.

- Advertisement -

“The training helps to teach us the responsibility of guiding the community through a natural disaster,” Medany said.

The instructor – who is also with the township Office of Emergency Management (DOEM) – put together a slideshow that covered several types of natural disasters, a presentation Medany described as excellent.

The township got training in part because of its experience with a F-3 tornado that blew through town in September 2021 as a result of Hurricane Ida. While Deptford was spared severe damage, nearby Mullica Hill saw dozens of homes destroyed. There were no deaths and only two people were injured, according to 6ABC, but the community is still recovering to this day.

The devastation convinced nearby communities, including Deptford, to take action.

“We became aware of the potential damage and struggles during the tornado two years ago,” Medany recalled. “Doing these courses is also a requirement if we want to receive reimbursement from FEMA for damage.”

This tornado was one of the reasons that Deptford first established the DOEM. Residents can follow the office on Facebook and X for information about potential impending disasters, which happened most recently during July’s extreme heat wave.

“(Our mission) is to lessen the effects of disaster on the lives and property of the community of the township of Deptford through leadership, coordination and support in the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery,” DOEM notes on its website.

Deptford’s training session followed the deadly wildfires in Maui, Hawaii – which as of deadline had left more than 100 people dead – and Hurricane Hilary in southern California.

“It seems there have been plenty of disasters as of late,” Medany observed. “It’s important that we’re prepared to deal with them.”

To reach the DOEM, call (856) 845-2200.

- Advertisment -