On Monday, November 19th at 7 PM you are invited to a community meeting at Greenburgh Town Hall to discuss a citizens initiative to press the Public Service Commission to direct Con Ed to change some of their procedures (example: hiring private electricians, having different crews working non stop- 24 hours a day, improving communications, etc..) so that the next time there is a major storm/huricane power can be restored much faster.
It's easy to point fingers at Con Ed. We also need to take a look at action steps the town can take to improve the way we deal with flooding, storms hurricanes, power outages.
At this meeting on Monday we will also form a task force to review how the town handled the emergency and to come up with recommendations. For example, I send out many e mails during emergencies. But, if you don't have power you can't read the e mails. If the phones aren't working, robo emergency calls can't be listened to. Should we put up signs around town advising residents where shelters are/how they can get info in the event of an emergency? Should the signs have phone numbers of a place where people can phone in for help? GOOD NEWS- We're updating our phone system (new system should be in place in the spring) which will help us communicate better.
We reached out to many seniors during the recent emergency. And, helped some find a warm temporary place to stay (house angels, shelters). Were all of the frail elderly/disabled/medically challenged residents contacted? Did we miss some people who should have been contacted? Do we need to work harder at reaching out to those who may need our help? Is our data base comprehensive enough? Can it be improved? The Atria provided beds for those who needed short term assisted living services. The Andrus Home in Hastings also helped out. But, many people were not aware of these opportunities.
How do we communicate road closures if people don't have power?
Do we have enough generators? Fortunately, a new generator was installed at our highway garage in mid October - replacing a generator that was not functioning properly). And- our highway garage had no power during the storm. What facilities in town need generators for shelters.
The meeting on Monday night is open to the community. Please e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 438 1343 with your suggestions. Shoprite will be donating food for a reception that will begin at 6:30 PM on Monday evening.
PS: We can all improve. And, we can learn from this experience. The above comments should not be interpreted as critical comments about town staffer's who worked very hard. The police department, fire department, public works department, recreation department, planning department, commissioners, employees all did their best. I hope that this community dialogue will help us improve the next time there is a disaster.