Letter from State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins

New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins sent the following message to members of the 35th District in anticipation of the difficult conditions likely to be brought about by Hurricane Irene.

Dear Friends,

As you know, Hurricane Irene is only hours away from reaching Westchester County and New York State has already declared a state of emergency. Please take every necessary precaution to keep yourselves and your loved ones safe.


Below are some suggested last minute storm-readiness tips that will help keep your family and property as safe as possible. I am also sending you some helpful information about what you should be doing during and after the storm. Please take a minute to review these tips and share this information with your friends and neighbors if possible.

Andrea Stewart-Cousins
New York State Senator
35th District

Storm Tips

  • Stay tuned to local TV and Radio Stations (WFAS 1230 FM) for updates.
  • Gather emergency supplies (See below for more information)
  • Have a family response plan (See below for more information)
  • Batten down any loose items and secure property as best as possible.
  • Clear outdoor storm drains near their property to prevent flooding during heavy rains.
  • If an EVACUATION is ordered by local government officials “do so!


Helpful Phone Numbers

  • For Information about the storm in Westchester: 211
  • For emergencies only: 911
  • New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services: 518-242-5000 or 212-867-7060
  • Westchester County Department of Emergency Services – 914-231-1850
  • Con Edison: 1-800-752-6633


Emergency Supplies

  • Flashlights with extra batteries. Do not use matches.
  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher.
  • Three day supply of non-perishable food. Include food for infants or the elderly.
  • Three day supply of water in air tight containers.
  • Extra blankets and clothing including sturdy shoes.
  • One week supply of medications.
  • Important documents stored in a waterproof container.


Family Response Plan

  • Discuss with family members what they should do in the event of a disaster.
  • Designate an out-of-area friend or relative whom separated family members should call to report their whereabouts. Make certain all family members have the phone number.
  • Make a plan now for what to do with your pets if you need to evacuate.


During the Storm

  • If you are traveling, find safe shelter immediately.
  • If you are at home or at work:
    • Only stay in a home if you have NOT been ordered to leave. Stay inside a well constructed building.
    • Turn refrigerator to maximum cold and open only when necessary.
    • Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities.
    • Turn off propane tanks.
    • Unplug major appliances.
    • Fill large containers with water
  • If winds become strong:
    • Stay away from windows and doors even if they are covered. Take refuge in a small interior room, closet or hallway.
    • Close all interior doors. Secure and brace external doors.
    • If you are in a two-story house, go to an interior first-floor room, such as a bathroom or closet.
    • If you are in a multiple-story building and away from the water, go to the first or second floors and take refuge in the     halls or other interior rooms away from the windows.
    • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
    • Remain indoors during the hurricane. Do not be fooled by the “eye” or the lull that occurs as the storm center moves overhead. The other side of the hurricane “eye” has winds that will rapidly increase and will come from the opposite direction.


In the Event of a Flood

  • Be aware of streams, drainage channels and areas known to flood, so you or your evacuation routes are not cut off. If you choose or are told to evacuate, move to a safe area before access is cut off by flood water.
  • Monitor local radio / television broadcasts or NOAA Weather Radio.
  • Avoid driving into water of unknown depth. Moving water can quickly sweep your vehicle away.
  • Restrict children from playing in flooded areas.
  • Test drinking water for potability; wells should be pumped out and the water tested before drinking.
  • Do not use fresh food that has come in contact with floodwaters. Wash canned goods that come in contact with floodwaters with soap and hot water.
  • Stay away from downed power lines.


After the Storm

  • Remain where you have taken shelter until informed by local authorities that it is safe to leave.
  • Keep the radio/television turned on for advice and instructions from local government on where to go for medical care, emergency assistance for housing, clothing and food, as well as other ways in which you can help your family and community recover.
  • If possible, advise relatives and friends that you are safe.
  • Stay out of the disaster area. Do not sightsee. Sightseeing disrupts essential rescue work and may be dangerous.
  • Obey all curfew and emergency orders which are issued.
  • If you must drive, use caution. Be aware of road and bridge washouts and storm debris on roadways.
  • Avoid loose or dangling wires and report them immediately to the proper authorities. Assume that all downed wires are alive with electricity.
  • Report broken sewer or water mains and downed electrical lines.
  • Take extra precautions to prevent fire. Lowered pressure in water mains may make firefighting extremely difficult.
  • Check for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not use candles and other open flames indoors.
  • Have your electric, gas and water connections checked by professionals before turning them back on.
  • Use your emergency supply of water or boil water before using until there is official word that the water is safe.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage if the power has been off during the storm.


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