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TOH Declares Disaster Emergency in Anticipation of Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene expected to hit anytime from Saturday night through Sunday. Credit: National Hurricane Center

Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone today issued an executive order declaring a disaster emergency in the Town and was joined by officials from the Town’s incorporated villages -–Asharoken, Huntington Bay, Northport and Lloyd Harbor– in calling on residents of shore areas who might consider evacuating to do so now, well in advance of Hurricane Irene reaching Long Island.

The emergency declaration was effective at noon today, August 26, 2011. In the order, Supervisor Petrone directed implementation of the Town’s disaster preparedness plan, which allows Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services and all other relevant Town departments to take action to provide whatever assistance may be necessary to protect the public health and safety. Supervisor Petrone directed all Town personnel to be available as needed in response to the expected storm.

“I am making this declaration now to underscore the importance of preparing for this storm and its aftereffects,” Supervisor Petrone said. “Now is the time for everybody to secure loose objects, ensure that they have adequate supplies of food and water, that they have fueled their vehicles and that they have made plans about how they will communicate with loved ones. As the storm progresses, I ask people to consider this motto: Be aware, be prepared and be safe.”

The request for residents who live in waterfront areas to consider evacuating came after a meeting this morning at which Town departments reported on their preparedness and the Town and representatives from the villages discussed emergency preparations and precautions.

“We all agreed with the recommendation that the residents potentially most affected by the storm-–those who live in the shore and low-lying areas-–should consider evacuating now because of the possibility of road washouts that could leave them stranded,” Supervisor Petrone said. “Once the storm begins, they, and everybody else, should stay off the roads.”

Supervisor Petrone and the village officials also request that persons who neither live in those areas nor have business there stay away until after the storm.

“I appreciate all the hard work our villages and Town departments have contributed to preparing for this storm,” Supervisor Petrone said. “I hope that all of us get through the storm and its aftermath safely, and with a minimum of damage.”

In an effort coordinated with Suffolk County, the Red Cross will open a shelter at Walt Whitman High School at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 27. If necessary, the Town will open the Village Green Center as a staging area for persons who cannot get to Walt Whitman High School, and Town HART buses will provide transportation from there. The buses will run until 7 p.m. Saturday.

Supervisor Petrone additionally ordered all Town beaches closed, effective at noon, Saturday, August 27, 2011, and cancelled all activities at town facilities scheduled for Sunday, August 28, 2011. The launch service provided by the town Department of Maritime Services will stop at 5 p.m. Saturday.

To help in storm preparation, residents can download the Town’s Hurricane Preparedness Handbook at the Town’s website, http://town.Huntington.ny.us, or pick up a copy at Town Hall or the Village Green Senior Center. As the storm progresses, residents can gain updated information by visiting the Town’s website or its Facebook page, by tuning to the Town’s government access channels 18 (Cablevision) or 38 (FiOS), or by tuning into local television and radio stations.

A.J. Carter

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