Suffolk Executive Steve Levy today discussed numerous steps being taken by the county to prepare for hurricane season and advised residents to prepare for the potential impact of “Hurricane Earl” later this week.
“Cooperative planning among local, state and federal officials, along with proper public education, are crucial to mitigating the potential impact of ‘Hurricane Earl’,” said Levy. The county executive also announced that a new, high-speed notification ‘Code RED’ system is available to residents seeking phone, e-mail and/or text messages about actual or impending emergencies, such as the hurricane. Residents can sign up for the Code RED messages and get tips for pre-and post-hurricane planning via the Suffolk County Mitigation Education for Natural Disasters (MEND) website.
Levy was joined at a news conference by Suffolk’s Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services (FRES) Commissioner Joseph F. Williams and Suffolk Department of Public Works (DPW) Commissioner Gil Anderson while briefing the media on steps taken by the county in preparation for the hurricane season.
Suffolk FRES unit has contracted with Emergency Communications Network to license the latter’s Code RED high-speed notification system. The Code RED emergency notification method is an utilizes a high-speed telephone communication service to deliver customized, pre-recorded emergency messages directly to Suffolk County homes and business at the proven capacity of millions of calls per day. Code Red also has high speed email and text messaging capability
To sign up, access the following link: Code RED Sign-Up.
Individuals who do not have Internet access may call the Office of Emergency Management’s Customer Service Center at 631-852-4900, from Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to receive Code RED information over the phone.
Through funding from a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that is administered by the NY State Emergency Management Office, the Suffolk County M.E.N.D. website offers numerous tips to residents for pre- and post-storm actions. Prior to this hurricane season, nearly 100,000 M.E.N.D. brochures had already been mailed to Suffolk County addresses located within a hurricane flood surge zone.
Depending upon the severity of a storm, the county may open shelters for use by residents. The media will be notified in such an event about which shelters are being opened and at what times. Shelters are opened based on the nature, severity of an emergency and the number of residents impacted. County Executive Levy noted that shelter locations are also available to residents who visit www.SuffolkCountyNY.gov.
FRES Commissioner Williams noted that a series of steps have already been taken in preparation for “Hurricane Earl,” including participation in conference calls with New York State Office of Emergency Management officials; storm tracking through the National Hurricane Center, and testing of all equipment, computers, phone lines, internet and audio/visual equipment in the FRES Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
DPW Commissioner Gilbert Anderson said DPW staff will be on standby in the event that severe weather conditions, such as flooding, pose a threat to safe roadway safety.
Anderson advised residents to stay inside and under shelter during stormy weather, and never touch any downed wires or utility poles. Residents who live in low-lying flood prone areas should, as directed, seek shelter at higher elevations, according to Anderson, and residents who have sump pumps in their homes are reminded not to connect them into sanitary house connections that in turn connect to public sanitary sewers.