With better communications systems in place but some areas of Southold Town still without power nearly 10 days after Hurricane Sandy hit, Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said during a board work session on Tuesday that the Long Island Power Authority still has some things to improve with coordinated storm management.
Russell praised LIPA for providing the town a responsive point person he could regularly communicate with during Sandy — something he did not have during Tropical Storm Irene.
“They have been better at communication,” he said. “I at least had a point person to go to — last year they had one person for the whole island who wouldn’t answer his phone. This year they have been good about letting us know where they are.”
Pre-storm logistics, however, were lacking on the part of LIPA, Russell said.
“They’re down to fixing very localized damage, putting up telephone poles, but if they had a better plan before the storm — having crews, poles, equipment in place where they will know they need them — this could have been better. Nine to 10 days without power is a long time.”
Russell praised Suffolk County’s Emergency Management team for their great communication with the town throughout Hurricane Sandy and thanked members of local fire departments for their help in determining areas that needed to be evacuated and for going door-to-door to encourage residents to leave before flood waters hit.
“You don’t want to cry wolf, but I think in many instances it was the right call to evacuate,” Russell said. “We did have a few deep water rescues throughout town and some electrical fires, so it was without a doubt a busy storm.”
Russell said that the town along with police and fire departments are working on creating a digital map of flood-prone and other dangerous areas in town during a major storm to refer people to the next time evacuation is required. He also suggested opening fewer shelters than were available during Sandy for easier management and better chance at having centralized generators for power.
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