Consider this a Sandy lesson learned by New Jersey officials. In the immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, it quickly became clear that communication is vital, but it’s not always possible when land lines are down.

Using $118,000 in federal Social Services Block Grant funding, State Department of Health Commissioner Mary O'Dowd will be in Sea Bright tomorrow to distribute 21 hand-held, two-way, walkie-talkie radios to County Emergency Medical Service Coordinators from every county in New Jersey. The radios are connected to a statewide system and will ensure 24/7 communication when landline and cell phone systems fail.

The radios are vital in helping counties officials work with homeowners, nursing homes, hospitals and other businesses to communicate information and plan for possible evacuations.

Each county already has one radio linked into the statewide system. With the distribution of the new radios, each county will have two so that County EMS Coordinators and their deputies can better coordinate emergency response.