August 29, 2013- It was a packed house on Wednesday night at the Hurricane Preparedness seminar hosted by Senator Phil Boyle at the Babylon Public Library. The seminar featured presentations by Rich Hoffman from News 12, Commissioner of NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services Jerome M. Hauer, Director of Emergency Services for the American Red Cross Elizabeth Barker, NYS Department of Financial Services Martin Schwartzman, and Commissioner of the Suffolk County of Emergency Management Thomas O’Hara. Their expertise covered a wide variety of areas so that all residents could have their questions and concerns addressed.
Several important topics and tips were gone over in the meeting including, what to pack for an emergency, how to stay accurately informed, and what you can do for pending problems resulting from Superstorm Sandy.
Some Babylon town residents felt that their homes were not getting the adequate attention after Superstorm Sandy, and many of them are still facing daunting tasks of paperwork and insurance claims. One resident spoke on behalf of his neighbor, who is serving the country overseas, and his home is still destroyed and unlivable after Sandy with no relief in sight.
One relief program that got a lot of attention is New York Rising. This program gives funding to communities successfully completing a recovery plan. There has been twenty-five million dollars allocated to various areas of New York State. This reconstruction program is community driven and can aid with the rebuilding of current destruction, but also help prevent future threats.
Residents are fearful of future storms because of the damage they witnessed during Sandy; many of them recalled when waves from the bay were surging down their blocks all the way to Main Street. Meteorologist Rich Hoffman, a Babylon town resident, has worked in the weather news industry for years and he also said that the damage resulting from Sandy he would have never expected.
The people were urged to always be prepared for a storm. Senator Phil Boyle is a volunteer fire fighter and recalled knocking on fifty doors before Sandy hit and urging people to evacuate their homes, only a handful actually left. Every speaker echoed the same point that if you are asked to leave it is much harder to rescue a family after a storm than taking precautionary measures before hand.
Senator Phil Boyle gave out a brochure, which included a “Build Your Essential Emergency Kit” page which should be cut off and hung in households. The list contains all vital items you will need if you are evacuated, like your family records, medications, first aid kit, and pets’ needs.
All of the individual cases presented to the panel of experts was different, and there are many different companies that will be able to help based on the problems residents are still facing. All of the relief and emergency service phone numbers are below: