Code Blue Should Be Statewide in NJ

Network of Emergency Services Across Most of NJ
Statewide NJ Code Blue Needed Now!

Code BlueNew Jersey has only a partial statewide network of Code Blue shelters and warming centers throughout most counties.

Not all counties participate in this alert system. A Code Blue alert for counties that do is typically issued once temperatures drop to 32 degrees or below.

Each county/municipality has a different protocol about weather and temperature guidelines. Essex County will only issue a Code Blue alert if the temperature drops below 15 degrees.

Now legislation in Trenton would change this and make Code Blue uniform and statewide.

Now, a South Jersey assemblyman, Bob Andrzejczak (D-Cape May, Atlantic, Cumberland) is seeking to establish a Code Blue program in every one of the state’s 21 counties, requiring by law that county emergency management coordinators adopt plans to provide shelter to the homeless and other at-risk residents during severe weather occurrences.

“Freezing and record-breaking heat temperatures can cause life-threatening conditions for residents without sufficient shelter,” Andrzejczak said. “A Code Blue program is essential to helping many residents to find shelter when extreme weather hits. When the resources are available, we should use them to protect those who are having a hard time in severe weather.”

According to an editorial in the Daily Journal.

It is time that for NJ to have a statewide Code Blue program for our neighbors who do not have a place to call home.

As we had towards winter, agencies in counties with Code Blue provide shelter, food, and clothing assistance for people whenever a Code Blue Alert has been issued.

An innovative program exists in Cumberland County.

This is the third winter for the Cumberland County Code Blue organization, which was founded after a man, apparently seeking warmth, was found dead inside a Bridgeton clothing donation box. Under the guidance of such dedicated leaders  as the Rev. Rob Weinstein and Bridgeton Mayor Albert Kelly, volunteers are trained and mobilized to staff shelters and meal programs. Since its first year in Bridgeton, Code Blue has also established shelters in Millville and Vineland.

A Code Blue alert is declared whenever temperatures drop below the freezing point and weather conditions pose a danger to the homeless population.

The Code Blue Alert allows authorities to take homeless people to local shelters or other agencies, known as Warming Centers. These shelters make additional beds and space available until conditions improve and the alert is called off.

Legal Services New Jersey has compiled a list of Code Blue Shelters and Warming Centers across the state. Please note Code Blue shelters and Warming Centers are only able to help people in need when a Code Blue has been issued by the county.

To find out if a Code Blue Alert has been issued in a particular county, please contact either the local police municipalities or visit the county/town website.

Click here for a link of Code Blue Shelters and Warming Centers.

Click here for information about Code Blue Alerts for each county.

Click here for a report by WHHY.

Click here to read the editorial in the Daily Journal.

Click here about an innovative Code Blue program in Cumberland County.

Join the conversation about Code Blue on Twitter.