Recent Storms Are a Reminder to be Prepared During Hurricane Season

2022-10-08 15:12:45 By : Ms. Joy Lu

The two devastating hurricanes that recently caused destruction from the Caribbean to Canada’s Atlantic coast are reminders of the dangers that severe weather can bring during hurricane season, County Executive George Latimer said.

Latimer urged residents to review their emergency plans, stock up on critical supplies and stay prepared in case severe weather strikes Westchester.

“Hurricane Fiona caused enormous damage around the Caribbean, including in Turks and Caicos and Bermuda. It devastated the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, which had yet to fully recover from a hurricane five years ago. Fiona even brought her wrath all the way to the Canadian Maritimes, “Latimer said. “Then came Hurricane Ian, which devastated much of Florida, causing loss of life and leaving millions without power. The fury of the storms we are experiencing cannot be under estimated.”

Latimer also noted that last year’s hurricane season was a particularly tragic one in Westchester.

“In 2021, five Westchester residents lost their lives as a result of severe flooding from a major storm. These tragic incidents are reminder to all of us of the need to stay informed and remain prepared.”

Latimer said the County’s Office of Emergency Management was monitoring the remnants of Ian, which has been downgraded from a hurricane but continues to cause flooding along portions of the East Coast.

County emergency responders recommend residents set aside several days’ worth of non-perishable food, water and medicine, and keep other critical supplies on hand 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, “In recent years, many of our homeowners suffered 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 medications, 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 a 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.

Acting Commissioner Terrance Raynor of the Department of Public Safety encouraged motorists to stay off the roads when major storms are in the forecast. Flash-flooding can quickly occur, swamping vehicles and putting motorists in significant danger. 

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: the County Emergency Services website. or the government's disaster preparation website.