TOMS RIVER – Earlier this year, 30 residents were evacuated and taken to area hospitals for possible carbon monoxide exposure. Once they are evaluated, possibly treated, and given the clearance to leave, how do you get them back to where they were staying?
That was the challenge faced in early January, when alarms went off at the Manahawkin Nursing & Rehabilitation facility on Route 72 West.
A carbon monoxide detector had gone off in the building’s basement the night of Jan. 8, and crews needed to move 30 residents out and get them to area hospitals for treatment, as a precaution. How were they all going to get back to the facility?
Freeholder Gary Quinn, who is freeholder liaison for the county’s transportation and Ocean Ride departments, said “I’m very proud to say, Ocean Ride came up to the plate and stepped up and helped get these people back into their homes,” Quinn said.
Ocean Ride staff transported all the residents back to the facility Jan. 9, once the carbon monoxide leak was fixed and they were told they could return.
“Ocean Ride helped in transporting the residents between Shore Meadow in Toms River, where many were moved to, back to Manahawkin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center,” Quinn read from a prepared statement. “Ocean Ride buses started arriving at 1:30 p.m. into the Toms River facility and they assisted in picking up 28 people – 15 of them were semi-ambulatory, four were in electric wheelchairs and nine were in regular wheelchairs – along with their fully stocked [medicine cabinets] that contained all their pills that they could take with them. …The whole process went off without a hitch.”
Quinn thanked the four drivers, assistant director and director for their work in helping the rehab residents get safely back. He praised the other Ocean Ride drivers, who picked up the slack on routes that still had to be covered that Wednesday.
“They did a tremendous job, they did a great job moving the residents and all their equipment back into the building. Everyone doesn’t remember the cold that day, but it was extremely cold and windy that day, which made their job even more difficult,” Quinn said.
“Overall, it was just a tremendous team effort on behalf of Ocean Ride,” Quinn added.
Ocean Ride provides low-cost transportation to the public. Route days and times vary. While most buses can accommodate wheelchairs and motor scooters, the county does ask that riders call the day before their ride to ensure the proper equipment for transport is provided.
For more information, call 732-736-8989 or visit co.ocean.nj.us/Transportation/TransportationRouteLinkPage.aspx.