Nearly three months after the storm devastated the tri-state area, and with residents still trying to recover, the City Council has begun investigating how various agencies handled Sandy.
Testimony has been given by representatives of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), the New York City Housing Authority, Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority, among other agencies.
Councilmember Eric Ulrich, when addressing OEM, inquired why the West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department had been denied a request for a rescue boat, despite the anticipated flooding in the hamlet. Ulrich also asked why OEM had not looked at the Breezy Point Cooperative’s evacuation plan, or had better communication with the several volunteer fire departments of southern Queens.
OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno said commissioners had been on the ground working with volunteer fire departments on plans during the lead up to the storm and had always maintained communications between the volunteers and the FDNY. It was not the office’s policy to approve of other entities’ evacuation plans, he said, but OEM could give input for both cooperatives and volunteer fire departments in the future, he said.
Ulrich suggested to Bruno that once recovery is completely over, and some stability is back in the area, OEM officials begin to work with these waterside communities to better prepare for future storms.
“I think in the next year it might be a good time, when everything settles and the rebuilding starts and life gets somewhat back to normal, that OEM try to engage these communities and these fire departments.”
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