With tropical storm Sandy bearing down on the eastern United States, Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino has urged residents to prepare for possible strong winds, flooding and other dangerous conditions.
“All relevant county departments are preparing in case this storm seriously impacts us,” Astorino said in a statement. “We hope we will not be severely affected by Sandy, but we must be prepared.”
The latest projections from the National Weather Service have Hurricane Sandy heading north early next week, possibly hitting the Northeast Monday into Tuesday. Astorino said Thursday the county's office of emergency management will partially staff the Emergency Operations Center through the weekend. The staff will monitor the storm through the weekend, Astorino said.
Eleven county departments are already making preparations for next week, Astorino said.
The county executive offered the following tips for residents as they prepare for the possible impact of the storm.
- Have a plan – A family emergency plan should include deciding where to go in the event you have to leave your home. Check in with family members that have special needs. Don't forget to make plans as well as your pets.
- Make a kit – specifically, a go-bag for use in an evacuation and a household disaster kit to enable a family to survive at home for several days without electricity. Suggestions for items to include in each can also be found on the county’s web site.
- Stay informed – Keep up-to-date on the progress of any storm and the protective actions being recommended by government agencies in response.
- Check on supplies – Make sure you have flashlights and batteries on hand as well as at least a three-day supply of water and non-perishable foods.
- Make sure to have an ample supply of any medications you may be taking.
- Print out a list of important phone numbers.
- Residents with oil tanks 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 or powerful winds.
- If the power fails, keep your refrigerator closed as much as possible to keep food from spoiling.
- If you lose power, call Con Edison or New York State Electric & 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.
- Secure or put away any items outside your home that could be blown away or damaged by high winds.
- Residents looking for further non-emergency information should call 2-1-1. United Way’s 2-1-1 helpline offers information about shelters, evacuation routes, road closures, recovery services, power outages, donations, volunteer opportunities, and other disaster-related services. Call specialists can communicate with callers in more than 250 languages. The line is available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week with expanded hours possible during emergencies.