Brookhaven Town officials have started making preparations for the impact of Hurricane Sandy, which includes the possible evacuation of communities on Fire Island.
Representatives from multiple Town agencies took part in a debriefing session Friday morning with Acting Supervisor Kathleen Walsh to discuss the Town's strategy in dealing with the potential onslaught of the storm.
The agencies piped into the conference included Highway and Traffic Safety, Building, Public Information, the Fire Marshal's office, Parks Department, Waste Management, Legal and Finance, to name a few. Walsh said part of the meeting was to ensure that all agencies are ready to do battle with the storm, that all gas tanks on town vehicles are topped off, and that each agency is on the same timeline.
An obvious factor the town wanted to address is the possible evacuation of Fire Island. "There aren't a lot of people on Fire Island this time of year," said Jack Krieger, Brookhaven's public information officer. "But we understand a lot of people will want to go there to clear off their decks and secure their homes."
Key points covered at the briefing included:
Acting Supervisor Walsh said Suffolk County's Office of Emergency Management will be making all evacuation decisions and that the town will follow the county's lead and filter its message through the town's broadcast channels. Suffolk County's decision to evacuate will also include a decision on Fire Island as the storm approaches.
In the case of evacuation, the town will continue to run its usual program for seniors and the disabled. "We have our Jitney drivers on standby," Walsh said. "At least 15-20 buses are ready to go."
The Town of Brookhaven has granted LIPA permission to use Brookhaven Calabro Airport as a staging spot to park service trucks as a more efficient way to deal with downed power lines and to restore power to effected areas faster. Acting Supervisor Walsh said the option is there, but there is no confirmation that LIPA will definitely be using the site.
Parks & Beaches
Town beaches are closed for the season, and no decision has been made about closing the parks yet; however, Walsh stated that the town does plan to use some of the parking lots at town parks and athletic fields as staging areas to dump debris that may accumulate on the roadways during the storm. Walsh said this process is faster and more efficient than having each truck drive its load to the landfill, dumping, and then hurrying back to the storm area.
"Marinas will be open until we deem it unsafe," Krieger said. Town personnel stationed at the various marinas will also be there to help boaters tie down their vessels or pull them out of the water as each boat owner desires.
Krieger said that if town residents want more information during the storm, they can visit www.brookhaven.org. If they wish to report downed trees or other dangerous conditions, they should call (631) 451-TOWN or 8696. Local radio stations will also be updated by the town to transmit information to residents.