Town Outlines Its Hurricane Preparations, Urges Residents to Be Ready

Town of Huntington officials urged residents Wednesday to prepare for hurricanes, while emphasizing what the town itself has done to prepare for storms and other emergencies.

Supervisor Ed Smyth said that with ocean temperatures warmer than usual, many experts are concerned  about the strength of storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting 12 to 17 named storms this season.

Smyth said that residents can take numerous steps to get through a hurricane or other bad weather. “Be prepared for all types of weather,” he said.

Meeting at the town’s emergency operations heaquarters on Pulaski Road, the town assembled representatives of information technology, maritime services, public safety, PSEG-LI, Suffolk police, animal control, fire and others to remind residents how to be safe and take care of themselves and others during a storm.

If Town Hall could not be used because of storm damage, town operations would move to the emergency center, which has backup generator power and other amenities for employees to use for the duration.

The town has published an emergency preparedness booklet that includes key phone numbers and other contact information for residents during storms, which will also be available on the town website. 

That booklet will be available at libraries, Helping Hand Rescue Mission, Tri-CYA and other locations.

Smyth said the town had taken steps to strengthen its communications technology since Superstorm Sandy, which knocked out power and cellphone service in much of the area and made communication so difficult that town officials joked at the time about having to use carrier pigeons to coordinate services.

“Let’s prepare for the worst and hope for the best, which is nothing,” Town Councilman Sal Ferro said.

Some of the tips, available tthrough the town and the National Weather Service. National Weather Service representative Nelson Vaz said that the agency is developing resources in Spanish and Chinese to expand the number of people it can reach with emergency information.

Have a family response plan: Decide if you need to evacuate, and determine the best route to get there; Let others know where you’ll be.

Stock a go-bag: Have a bag containing some clothing, food and water, medications and essential  paperwork in case you have to evacuate.

Avoid downed trees: Fallen trees can hide power lines pulled down by the storm.  A PSEG-LI representative said that the utility had strengthened more than a thousand miles of power lines in the last couple of years.

Prepare your home: Check on and tune up generators now if you have them, instead of waiting until you need them. Have enough food and water for three or four days, for each person in the home.

Prepare your boat. Senior Harbormaster Fred Uvena said, “Boats can be replaced; lives can’t,” urging residents not to “ride out the storm” on their vessels. Tie the boat down securely and put away any loose equipment that could blow away.

Take care of the family pet: Make sure the pet is microchipped. If the animal has to be left home for a few days, make sure there is adequate food and water and a note on the door giving the animal’s name and last day a person fed it.

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