Staff at assisted living facilities in Morris stay overnight to help throughout ice storm

Publish Date:

Sunday, February 2, 2014


News Organization:

The Star-Ledger (

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MORRIS COUNTY — Officials at assisted living facilities in Morris County say they were able to provide for their patients’ safety through today’s ice storm by having staff members stay over last night and by having emergency generators available.

“We make sure the staff is here,” said Cathy Engler, administrator of Morris County’s MorrisView Health Care Center in Morris Township. “Our main priority is to take care of the residents.”

To ensure the staff didn’t have a difficult commute during this morning’s storm, staff members stayed last night on the center’s vacant third floor and the center gave them mattresses, blankets, pillows and breakfast, Engler said.

“We made sure outgoing staff didn’t leave last night until new people got here,” she added. “We’ve had no staff problems.”

Engler said stay-overs have become fairly routine over the past few years with so many extreme weather events.

MorrisView has 268 beds for long-term, nursing home patients and 15 sub-acute beds to rehabilitate patients with injuries, and all the beds are presently filled, Engler said.

MorrisView has an emergency generator available in case of power outages, but as of this morning, hadn’t needed to use it, Engler said.

At three private facilities offering assisted living – Sunrise Senior Living in Madison, Cedar Crest Village in Pompton Plains and Franciscan Oaks in Denville -- spokeswomen reported similar situations today.

Staff stayed overnight to avoid the messy commute, and emergency generators were available, but hadn’t yet been needed, they said, noting the routine has become familiar with so many storms this winter.

Morris County’s Office of Emergency Management has offered to locate emergency shelter for residents who need it, and had a plan in place with the American Red Cross, but "fortunately, we did not have any residents" who needed shelter, said emergency management director Jeffrey Paul.

Paul added that the county OEM has had "regular communication with Jersey Central Power & Light," including a state-level update briefing at 11 a.m., and "We have not experienced any significant power issues at this time."

"As it relates to the threat of power issues, we feel that the worst of the weather has passed," Paul said just before noon.

But Paul cautioned that the county remains under a storm warning until 4 p.m. and "the potential accumulation of snow and ice always has the possibility of bringing down trees and limbs which could result in power outages."

Morristown is providing temporary shelter to any residents who may suffer power outages today. The third-floor senior center at Morristown Town Hall at 200 South St., and the third floor at the firehouse at 161 Speedwell Ave. are both available as warming centers and charging stations, Mayor Timothy Dougherty said in a statement.

Residents without heat or heat water are urged to call the Morristown Office of Emergency Management at (973) 390-1575 for assistance.

Residents were also urged to report outages or downed wires to JCP & L at (888) 544-4877.

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