Local officials seek to coordinate emergency services and shelter
By Kevin E. Foley
Along with much of the Northeastern United States, Philipstown and Putnam County are bracing for this weekend’s Hurricane Irene, which the National Weather Service has predicted could be the storm of a generation for the region. Locally, officials such as Town Supervisor Richard Shea and Town Board Member Nancy Montgomery and Cold Spring Deputy Mayor Bruce Campbell have been working the phones and coordinating with the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services to exchange information, establish lines of communication, marshal resources, coordinate departments, and prepare for the worst as they hope for the best.
Officials are focused on the potential for high winds and drenching rain to create sustained power outages, flooding in low-lying areas, blocked roads, and people in need of emergency shelter. The town government will establish an emergency operations center at the North Highlands Fire Company firehouse tomorrow (Saturday) night to monitor events and coordinate with the fire companies, various police agencies, the Town Highway Dept., Central Hudson Power Company, and other services. Regionally, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has announced the shutdown of the entire system, including Metro-North, beginning at noon tomorrow.
Nancy Montgomery, a certified emergency medical technician and a former 9-1-1 dispatcher, provided Philipstown.info with the latest information the town government has on preparation for the storm. She emphasized that the four volunteer companies have all offered to open their firehouses tomorrow evening to provide emergency shelter to residents who need it. At least people will have access to running water, electricity and a roof over their heads, said Montgomery. She praised the fire companies for their efforts and coordination with the town. They have been eager to help and to open their doors, she said. Montgomery also pointed out that the Garrison Ambulance Corps has said they will have extra oxygen for people who cannot obtain their regular supplies. Montgomery also stressed that people should use telephone numbers provided (see below) to obtain assistance or get information. I have worked those lines and it really throws a wrench into the system when people call 9-1-1 with non-life threatening situations, she said.
Bruce Campbell said he had already met a few times with Water and Sewer Superintendent Greg Phillips to do everything possible to prepare the water treatment plant and the storm drain system for flooding and an excess of storm water. He said he was also speaking with the Cold Spring Fire Company to better understand pumping possibilities in case of flooding in the area near the river.
Philipstown.info will update this report with new information and news as often as possible.
These facilities will be open throughout the storm and will serve as cover from the storm. If you need to leave your home please come prepared with all of your basic needs. Electricity and running water will be available. The centers cannot accommodate pets.
Continental Village Fire Department
12 Spy Pond Road Garrison, NY 10524
Garrison Volunteer Fire Department
1616 Route 9
Garrison, NY 10524
Cold Spring Fire Company No. 1
152 Main St
Cold Spring, NY 10516
North Highlands Fire Department
504 Fishkill Road
Cold Spring, NY 10516
Other helpful numbers
Call 911 for LIFE THREATENING EMERGENCIES ONLY. Putnam County Emergency Operation Center will be active at 8 p.m. on Saturday. Call 845-808-4060 for URGENT matters only this could include being trapped inside your house, trees down, etc.
Putnam County Sheriff’s Department 845-225-4300
Report power outage to 845-452-2700 or 800-527-2714
Report gas odor to 800-942-8274
Suggestions and precautions
- DO NOT TOUCH DOWNED TREES they may be in contact with a live power line.
- STAY AWAY from downed power lines. If you are in your car and there is a downed power line STAY IN YOUR CAR and call 800-527-2714
- Pay attention to weather advisories and storm warnings.
- Keep a flashlight and fresh batteries handy.
- Have a battery-powered radio to keep informed of restoration efforts.
- Double-check your supply of food, and stock your pantry with packaged or canned foods that require no refrigeration or cooking.
- Avoid opening your refrigerator unnecessarily during outages, so food lasts longer.
- Be sure you have a non-electric can opener.
- If you have an electric water pump, always keep an emergency supply of bottled water on hand for drinking and washing. If a major storm is forecast, fill your tub with water as an added reserve.
- Remember, never use outdoor gas or charcoal grills indoors. They pose a fire hazard, and over time can give off deadly carbon monoxide gas. Use these appliances only outdoors with proper ventilation.
- Be sure you know how to open your garage door manually, if you usually rely on an electrically-operated, automatic, remote control door opener.
- Does anyone in your home depend on electrically-operated life-support equipment? If so, call Central Hudson at 845-452-2700 or 1-800-527-2714 and speak to a customer service representative before there is an actual emergency so they can note this on your account and contact you when severe weather is anticipated.