As experts predict Hurricane Sandy to hit parts of the state as soon as early next week, local officials have already started to prepare for the storm and make sure all rescue efforts are in place.
In Hopatcong, Officer Robert Haffner said the mayor, OEM personnel, borough administrator and the DPW met Thursday afternoon to discuss how to get ready for the predicted rainfall and high winds.
Haffner, the borough's OEM director, said borough officials will start preparing on Friday morning by cleaning out all of the leaves in the drains and roadways to make sure the water will be able to flow.
Workers will also be taking down flags or anything that can blow away, he said. They're going to be making sure all of the generators are gassed up, and that the police have first aid kits on hand.
Haffner said he'll be activating the community emergency response team and putting them on standby for shelter, water, and other supplies residents may need.
While the borough got hit hard last year by Irene, Haffner says they're doing simliar things to prepare. Since the two storms in 2011, the borough has gotten an updated computer system and emergency operations center in the Municipal Building.
"This is something new that the town felt that there was a need for, and we got it done," he said.
In Sparta, Sgt. John Paul Beebe said officials will be meeting Friday morning to discuss how to prepare for the storm, but have already started to scope out some problem areas.
Public Works Director James Zepp said that he had crews checking the sensitive drainage areas today, and the detention basins that are prone to flooding. The crews also made sure all of the tree equipement is ready, including saws and chippers to take down any branches.
"We're gearing up for it," he said. "It's kind of like prepare for the worst, and hope for the best."
Zepp said that the township learned from Hurricane Irene about which areas are most prone to flooding, and said the workers now know where to concentrate all of their efforts.
"You just got to deal with it the best you can and anticipate power outages," he said.