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Ossining Emergency Team To Discuss Hurricane

OSSINING, N.Y. – The Ossining emergency management team is planning to discuss on Friday preparations and emergency plans related to Hurrricane Irene, which is scheduled to be in the area on Sunday.

"If it's anything like the last storm, we could have trees down, wires down, that sort of thing, anything could happen," said village Mayor William Hanauer.

A recent storm knocked down a tree, which then pulled up a gas main and electrical line near the Portuguese club on Broad Avenue, the mayor noted. Another storm knocked down a tree which broke a sewage pipe leading to untreated sewage being dumped into the Hudson River.

"We are prepared for (the hurricane) in that our highway department and Department of Public Works are prepared for dealing with trees down, but it's hard to pin down what will happen," Hanauer said.

Municipal emergency management teams are mandated by the federal government, the mayor said. The Ossining team includes Hanauer, the village manager, and representatives from the police department, the fire departments and the ambulance team.

Hurricane Irene was upgraded to a category three hurricane on Wednesday, calling for a storm surge of nine to 12 feet and sustained winds of 111 to 130 mph. Damage in a Category 3 storm may be extensive on small buildings with low roofs, large trees and branches, and it may also cause power and water outages.

Only five hurricanes have passed within 75 miles of New York City since 1851, according to Hurricane Floyd in 1999 started out as a category three hurricane in Florida, but weakened significantly by the time it reached New York. Nevertheless, all public schools in NYC closed due to the storm.

Justine Gervacio of Ossining, who was shopping for food at C-Town as a steady rain came down on Thursday, said she is not worried about the hurricane.

"I think we can handle it. I think of it as an excess of rain. My sister is going back up to school in Binghamton and we're planning to go on Sunday," she said.

John Kelly of Monroe, NY, who was buying bread at C-Town, said he has had flooding in the past, but there is little he can do to prepare for the hurricane.

"There's nothing really to do. The irrigation takes care of everything," he said.

At Ossining Hardware on Croton Avenue, Steve, the owner of the store who preferred not to give his last name, said customers had been buying electric generators, batteries and flashlights, but there is no sense worrying about the hurricane.

"It is what it is whether we get worried about it or not," he said

Some tips for preparing for storms include:

- Hold a family meeting to discuss what to do in the event of evacuation, including how to take care of pets.

- Check the roof, windows, doors and landscaping and take precautions, such as removing weak branches from trees. Check shingles, tiles panels and gutters and secure when necessary. Close all windows and securely fasten shutters.

- Gather supplies, including food, water and medications to prepare for possible evacuation.

- Prepare an emergency water supply by filling containers, sinks and tubs.

- Charge your cell phone and fill your gas tanks.

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