Nassau County officials address the peak of hurricane season
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, along with Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Steven Morelli, held a press conference at the Nassau County Homeland Security Center in Bethpage last week to address precautions Nassau County emergency departments have taken to ensure residents’ safety as the peak of Atlantic hurricane season approaches.
As Curran pointed out in her opening statement, Long Island was “ravaged” by Superstorm Sandy in 2012. As “the key to storm response is preparation,” Curran said, the OEM has spent the last six years readying different departments for the next natural disaster.
Among steps taken to improve safety throughout Nassau County during an emergency are: the Department of Public Works (DPW) has both disaster management contractors and disaster monitoring consultants on standby “eliminating the need to procure services through emergency legislative approval”; the DPW constructed an emergency command center, 170 Cantiague Rock Rd. in Hicksville, to faciliate emergency communication and operations; the OEM implemented Everbridge, a mass notification system for Nassau County, and an alert FM system; there is a traffic management electronic system, deployable signs for emergency notifications; there are new traffic cameras to monitor traffic and flood conditions; there are 50 portable traffic lights and 100 complementary generators for when traffic lights lose power; and Nassau County will receive more than $140,000 to augment the county’s 9-1-1 system and make emergency service dispatch more efficient.
While the new systems and operations in place to handle county-wide emergency situations are important, Curran emphasized that residents’ knowledge is paramount to their safety.
“Know where you live, look at that map. You can go to our website, look at where you live, what danger zone you’re in and look at your escape routes, your evacuation routes, make sure you know where they are,” Curran said. “You have to be ready for anything.”
Curran mentioned the importance of having go-kits, kits full of supplies needed in the event of evacuating an emergency, for both your family and any pets you may have. She reminded residents that the Nassau County SPCA has an emergency pet evacuation center at Nassau Community College.
Morelli stressed the importance of caring for pets during emergencies as “pets are one of our most vulnerable family members.”
It’s everyone’s responsibility to be prepared, Morelli said. “We at the office of emergency management want to be certain that our citizens are safe.”
Ryder addressed the police department’s acquisition of all-wheel vehicles, boats and helicopters to aid in rescue operations. He pointed out that while Superstorm Sandy caused extensive damage to the county, there was no loss of life, “the reason being is that most people listened to the warnings when the county executive gave them.”
For those looking to take extra precautions for when natural disaster strikes the area, Curran mentioned the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This is training spanning across multiple weekends that teaches residents how to keep themselves and their families safe through low-level emergency work.
“[CERT] is a good way to make yourself feel more confident that you can withstand a storm—that you have the tools and you have the knowledge necessary to keep your family and to keep yourself safe,” Curran explained.
For more information about staying safe this hurricane season, visit www.nassaucountyny.gov.com/oem.