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lack of emergency generators in area
Release Date: February 03, 2006

Last month, after the severe power outages, I called on the Greenburgh Town Board to place emergency generators at municipal buildings. The Town Hall, MultipurposeCenterand TheodoreYoungCommunity Centerdo not have emergency generators in the buildings. Most schools within the town do not have emergency generators either. The WestchesterCountyCenter(a county operated facility located on the border of Greenburgh/White Plains) does not have generators. This could create problems for the frail elderly/disabled if there is an outage during severe cold weather or during the hot summer months.

This afternoon I attended a meeting of the Council of Governments (hosted by the CountyExecutive). I am pleased to report that the lack of generators in government buildings was discussed by my colleagues at the county and local levels. A few communities, like Sleepy Hollow, have emergency generators (Sleepy Hollow has purchased portable generators). Most school districts, government buildings around the county do not have emergency generators.

County Executive Andrew Spano indicated he would support having the county provide localities that purchase generators (for regional use) with financial assistance. I will ask the Town Board to authorize the town to  apply to the county for financial assistance so we can purchase generators. I will also ask town officials to explore purchasing portable generators and to explore cheaper alternatives (military surplus generators).  Greenburgh Police Chief John Kapica has submitted a letter endorsing having generators in town buildings. The county police also advocate generators. I intend to include funding for a generator in my upcoming capital budget.

CELLTOWERSSHOULD ALSO HAVE GENERATORS…

At the meeting that I attended today it was pointed out that if we have a severe power failure phone service in the town/county could be impacted. A suggestion was made for local governments to require cell companies that place antennas on cell towers to also place generators on cell towers. This would enable cell phones to work in the event of an emergency. I will forward this suggestion to members of the Town Board, our antenna committee and building department.

PNEUMONIA SHOTS RECOMMENDED

The county Department of Health provided officials with an update on bird flu/pandemic influenza. Depending on severity and duration of an  outbreak, NYS (excluding NYC) could expect anywhere between: (worst case scenario)

1400 -15,0000 influenza related hospital admissions per week (120-1300 in Westchester)…400 to 3,700 influenza related deaths per week (35-300 in Westchester).

The county is being proactive—trying to plan for a crisis (even though the crisis may never happen). One suggestion that I wanted to forward to readers is the fact that flue is not often a direct killer but rather a fatal ingredient in a mix of factors that lead to someone’s death. Flu sometimes gets in lungs and that leads to pneumonia. A suggestion was made to encourage residents to take the pneumonia shot.  It can help save lives.

PAUL FEINER, GreenburghTownSupervisor

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