September is National Preparedness Month, an observance we should not ignore. Hurricanes are Long Island’s greatest natural disaster threat, though we have been mostly spared the worst scenarios through the decades.
Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, shook us out of our complacency. It left 14 dead and nearly $7 billion in damages on the island. This year’s hurricane season has been quiet, but it’s by no means over—Sandy, remember, struck in late October.
With all that, do you know what to do in an emergency and are you prepared? For too many of us, the answer is a resounding ‘No.’ How many families practice yearly fire drills? We suspect the number is meager. And how many homeowners and renters have non-functioning fire, smoke and CO² alarms? An alarming number, no doubt.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has formed the New York State Citizen Preparedness Corps to, in the words of the website, “give residents the tools and resources to prepare for any type of disaster, respond accordingly and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.”
Training takes place all year and is led by the New York National Guard with experts from the state’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Emergency Management and Office of Fire Prevention and Control. So you’ll be guided in how to deal with any emergency by people who’ve lived and experienced the full gamut of calamities. Classes will be held Sept. 29 in Rockville Centre and Oct. 6 in Manhasset. To learn more, visit www.dhses.ny.gov.
Disasters will bring out the best and worst in people. We can’t always depend on the government and the utility company. In the absence of power, phone service, unpassable roads and more, knowledge and cooperation will go a long way to make conditions more tolerable.