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County Executive George Latimer urges residents to review their emergency plans and obtain critical supplies in case severe weather strikes Westchester during hurricane season.
Latimer said: “Now is a good time to gather the essentials you would need if and when a major storm hits, with the potential for flooding or power outages. These items can quickly disappear from store shelves when a hurricane is looming, or in its aftermath.”
County emergency responders recommend residents set aside several days’ worth of non-perishable food, water and medicine, and keep on hand other critical supplies like flashlights and batteries in case they are stuck in their homes without power. Residents should also have a “go-bag” ready in case they are asked to evacuate on short notice during an emergency.
Latimer continued: “Our recent experiences with storms have shown us that we must take hurricane season seriously, with many of our homeowners suffering significant property damage and power outages for an extended period of time. Mother Nature is hard to predict, but it can give us peace of mind to be prepared.”
Commissioner Richard G. Wishnie of the Department of Emergency Services said hurricane season runs June 1 through December 1. He recommends that residents create an emergency preparedness kit that includes:
Sherlita Amler, MD, Commissioner of the Department of Health, said ahead of any major storm, residents should make a list of their mediations, charge their cellphones and laptops and fill their vehicle gas tanks, too. It is also a good idea to have some masks, wipes and hand sanitizer in your go-bag. Residents with oil tanks at home should top off their tanks and tighten the cap to prevent spills. Above-ground tanks should also be strapped to a secure fixture to prevent tipping in case of flooding.
Amler said food and generator safety are essential during and after any power outage or emergency.
Commissioner Thomas Gleason of the Westchester County Department of Public Safety encouraged motorists to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary during inclement weather. Gleason said: “Residents should avoid unnecessary travel during such storms and when they are on the road, they should take care to avoid ponding water which may be deeper than it appears or be quickly rising. Over the years, County Police has responded to assist numerous motorists who have been stranded when their cars have stalled on flooding roadways. In addition to likely damaging your vehicle, you may also be putting your life at risk.”
Residents and business owners with generators are reminded of the following safety tips:
If you lose power, call Con Edison or NYS Electric and Gas directly. The phone numbers are: Con Ed power outage or gas and electrical service problems: (800) 75-CONED; NYSEG electricity power outage: (800) 572-1131; NYSEG gas power outage: (800) 572-1121.
Wishnie said families should also consider what additional preparations to make for people with special needs or who care for the elderly, infants or pets. Family members also should plan for how they will communicate if local phone service is not available or is overwhelmed by high demand.
Practical tips on these and other topics can be found at: http://keepingsafe.westchestergov.com/be-prepared and www.ready.gov.