A 2012 survey of Lake Hopatcong residents showed that safety was the No. 2 concern of lake residents (just behind the growth of aquatic weeds). With that in mind, the Foundation developed a multi-faceted approach to improving safety and protection on Lake Hopatcong. After meeting with representatives from the State Police, Morris and Sussex County Sheriff’s Offices, and the four municipalities’ police, fire, and EMS departments, they kicked off their efforts.
A partnership among the New Jersey State Police, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, and the LHF has resulted in added police shifts during key summer weekends annually since the summer of 2013. The goal of those shifts has been to address quality-of-life issues (speeding, boating under the influence, noise, etc.) with high-visibility patrols.
B-SAFE (Blue Signs are for Emergencies), Dock Numbering Program
The foundation partnered with first responders from the four towns surrounding the lake as well as the New Jersey State Police, and have collaboratively developed a plan that aims to improve emergency response times and safety on Lake Hopatcong. All lakefront properties have been assigned a unique dock number or “lake address,” which is linked to the 9-1-1 street address. Lakefront property can voluntarily post a sign with their dock number where it can be easily seen from the water. If an emergency occurs, an accurate location can be reported using the nearest dock number as a reference point. Emergency personnel can rapidly and effectively respond by land or water. For more information about the B-SAFE Dock Numbering Program, click here.
Dangerous Boating Signs
One thing learned from the meetings held with police officials was that there are not many calls logged into the State Police from Lake Hopatcong, which results in fewer resources being allocated to the lake. So we are encouraging folks to call the State Police number (973-663-3400) to report dangerous boating when they see it, rather than assuming no troopers are at the lake to respond. Businesses around the lake have been kind enough to allow us to put up lakeside metal signs that prompt people to call that number if they see unsafe activity on the lake.
The LHF works with local police and emergency officials to fill any gaps in equipment (radios, ice safety gear, etc.) that may exist. In 2015, the LHF donated $9,000 toward the purchase of a fire boat for the Jefferson Township Fire Department.