Senator Hannon Announces Roundtable to Evaluate Storm Emergency Response Time
Senator Kemp Hannon today announced he’ll host a public roundtable of emergency experts, officials and residents to determine if Long Island is truly
prepared for a major hurricane. Hannon said this past weekend’s nor’easter
will provide fresh information on preparation and response to a major storm
or catastrophe on Long Island.
Senator Hannon said he is most concerned that Nassau County’s 911 emergency phone banks seemed unable to handle the influx of calls and needed to divert to Suffolk County’s system. In his State of the County address, Nassau’s new County Executive, Ed Mangano, pointed out this problem and is dedicating millions to improve the system.
“While I commend and thank Mr. Mangano for pledging to fix this problem,
it concerns me what else pertaining to emergency response has been ignored, especially since 9-11,” Senator Hannon said.
Senator Hannon also said that despite this being only a storm and not a
hurricane, LIPA predicts it will still take days to fully repair the power
system. It has been reported that LIPA system is only able to sustain wind
gusts of up to 40 mph. Hurricane Gloria saw gusts of up to 115 mph.
“While I commend our emergency responders, law enforcement officials and
utility companies for working hard to meet the needs of Long Islanders this
week, it is clear that we must take a closer look at the efficiency and
effectiveness of our response system and determine if we truly are prepared
for a major hurricane,” said Hannon. “Since Hurricane Gloria hit 25 years
ago, we’ve had more than enough opportunities to prepare and practice for
the big storm, so I would like to ask these experts if they could handle a
major emergency in light of this weekend’s storm response. This is an
important opportunity to evaluate ourselves working together as a team.”
Senator Hannon said he’ll announce the date of the roundtable as soon as
possible, but it will be within the next four to five weeks. Those he’ll
invite to testify will include officials from LIPA, first responders, law
enforcement, transportation experts, and elected and municipal officials.