Last year it was Irene, now it looks like Hurricane Sandy could be paying us a visit. While Irene caused an incredible $4 billion dollars worth of damage, the National Weather Service says Sandy is actually more powerful and potentially more destructive. Sadly, as of this writing, she’s already claimed 44 lives.
I stress this because I’ve heard some say, “it can’t happen here.” That’s simply not true. Long Island has been hit by several category three hurricanes and nothing could be more dangerous than ignoring that fact. So I am including some tips below to help you prepare and stay safe. Also, if you have a vulnerable neighbor – a senior or someone with a disability – please be sure to check on them before and after the storm.
If you have questions or a special need, call Nassau County’s Office of Emergency Management at 516-573-0636 or visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/OEM/prepare/emergency.html  and click on the emergency preparedness listing on the left hand side. There you’ll find checklists, contact numbers, and even information about evacuation routes and shelters.
Again, I urge you to please prepare for Hurricane Sandy. You’ll be glad you did.
Jack M. Martins
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS TIPS
• Listen to radio for critical information from the National Weather Service.
• Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
• Close windows and doors. You may even have to board them up with plywood.
• Have a three day supply of food and water (1 gallon per day per person).
• Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
• Turn off propane tanks and unplug small appliances.
• Fill your car’s gas tank.
• Have cash on hand.
• Create an evacuation plan. Planning and practicing minimizes confusion during the event.
• Familiarize yourself with evacuation routes and Nassau County’s many shelter locations.
• Stay safe indoors but be ready to evacuate if advised by authorities.
• If your caller ID says “Nassau County,” be sure to answer it. That’s the Emergency Notification System calling with instructions.
• Remember that only service animals are allowed in shelters so make plans for your pets.
• Prepare a “Go-Bag” that includes: First-aid kit, battery powered flashlight and radio, extra batteries, essential and nonessential prescriptions and medical information, a change of clothes, personal items like glasses, and important documents like your driver’s license, social security and credit cards, and insurance policies.
Visit The National Weather Service at www.weather.gov  to track Hurricane Sandy.