Preparation becomes key as cleanup continues

December 5, 2012 by  

In fulfillment of his pledge to solicit public input in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Port Washington North Mayor Robert Weitzner and other public officials recently hosted an Emergency Preparedness Forum. Village trustees, public workers, and emergency management personnel were among those who heard firsthand reports of both successes and failures experienced by the 50 or more attendees.

Representatives of the Long Island Power Authority were invited, but declined to attend. Feedback such as this will form a framework of future planning for major storms and other emergencies that may interrupt local services. The village was the first in the immediate area to initiate such a listening session.

Expressions of both frustration and gratitude emanating from the current storm-related challenges were certainly heard, but much of the meeting was focused on lessons learned, and how to ensure that shortfalls are addressed. Ordinances related to generators and noise were suggested for review, as well as the possibility of bulk purchases of generators. Assessment of trees that may pose a danger to people or property will also be considered, such that pruning or replacement becomes a matter of course — possibly at a publicly negotiated rate to minimize the cost to homeowners.

Brochure printing enabled forum organizers to distribute emergency telephone numbers, as well as email addresses. As preparedness programs take shape over the coming months, additional information may be distributed by brochure and flyer printing, including details of a Port Washington Fire Department program to pre-register those residents, especially the elderly or infirm, who may require special assistance in an evacuation or emergency.