(Yaphank, NY-October 27, 2012) – Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has declared a State of Emergency for Suffolk County as of 8:00am today. In consultation with Islip Supervisor Tom Croci and Brookhaven Acting Supervisor Kathleen Walsh, the County Executive has also ordered a mandatory evacuation of Fire Island with residents required to vacate the island by 2:00pm on Sunday, October 28, 2012.
The Suffolk County Emergency Operations Center opened at 9:00am on Friday, October 25, 2012 and will be open throughout the weekend.
The EOC coordinates the county’s response system and consists of over 40 workstations for representatives from the county, towns, villages, utilities and emergency responders.
County Executive Bellone said the Suffolk Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services began preparations for the storm, which include:
• Notification by e-mail and phone to the county’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) volunteers that they may be called into action;
• Notification to approximately 100 county employees who are shelter volunteers that they may be called into action if shelters need to be opened;
• Coordination with towns and the American Red Cross to identify a shelter in each of the ten towns, if needed;
• Telephone contact with special-needs persons on the JEEP (Joint Emergency Evacuation Program);
• Identification of a pet-friendly shelter and persons-with-special-needs shelter, if needed;
• Briefings for towns, villages and first responders throughout the weekend
County Executive Bellone is urging residents who live in low-lying and flood prone areas to monitor the weather reports closely and listen for updates. Do not report to a shelter until instructed to.
He also reminded residents to use 911 only for life-threatening emergencies, not for information. Residents with non-emergency situations can use the SCPD non-emergency number 852-COPS (852-2677) or the Suffolk County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services line at 852-4900.
If you have not done so already, it is important to ensure you:
• Check your family’s emergency supply kit – make certain you have food, water, medications, and other necessities to sustain you, your family and family pets for at least 72 hours.
• Remember food safety – power outages and flooding may happen as a result of strong winds and heavy rains so have a plan for keeping food safe. Have a cooler on hand to keep food cold, and group food together in the freezer so it stays cold longer.
• Have an adequate communication plan - be sure friends and family know how to contact you. Teach family members how to use text messaging. Text messages can often get around network disruptions when a phone call might not get through.
Keep in mind, hurricanes bring heavy rains, storm surges and possible flooding events. Avoid walking or driving through any flooded areas.