When Hurricane Sandy hit, Berkeley residents who needed shelter had to travel to Toms River, Pinelands Regional High School or Barnegat Middle School for refuge.
But as the shelter at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River High School North filled to capacity, some Berkeley residents had no place to go.
It's a situation Mayor Carmen F. Amato Jr. doesn't want to see happen again.
"Some residents were turned away at the Pine Belt Arena," Amato said at the Dec. 11 Township Council meeting. "It forced us into opening up an emergency shelter."
No more, Amato said.
Township officials are moving to purchase several emergency generators that could be used in different sections of Berkeley as needed, he said at the Dec. 11 Township Council meeting.
"We don't want to rely on other entities to take care of our residents," the mayor said. "We will be self-contained."
When the Pine Belt Arena filled up at the height of the storm, St. Maximilian Kolbe R.C. Church in the western section of Berkeley was opened up as an emergency shelter because it was the only space in town with a generator.
But the church had no beds and no kitchen facilities for storm refugees.
Three of the new generators will be portable and can be moved from place to place as needed. The fourth will be permanently installed, probably at the Berkeley Township Elementary School or Central Regional High School.
The township will be going out to bid for the generators, Amato said tonight.
"We are finalizing the plan," he said. "We put some money aside in the 2012 capital bond ordinance to pay for it. We will be self-sufficient in the future. We will be able to provide for our own residents - shelters, heating and cooling stations. We will be ready."