FEMA says it can find you

Long Neck Boulevard, Flanders. Oct. 30, 2012.
Long Neck Boulevard, Flanders. Oct. 30, 2012. photo b. young

Just in time for hurricane season on Long Island, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is launching a new campaign to let the world know that they can tell you when a disaster is about to strike. At the same time, East End airwaves and mailboxes are inundated with information prepared for “Hurricane Preparedness Week,” just when many of us are starting to crawl out of the shells we’ve been hiding in since Sandy.

FEMA last week launched an ad campaign to remind the U.S. that local emergency agencies are starting to send out “Wireless Emergency Alerts,” or “WEAs”, which are broadcast to cell phones in range of towers where disaster is about to strike.

Say you’re a kid from New York who just got the keys to the family car and decided to drive through tornado alley just a couple weeks ago. If you’d been driving near the path of a tornado, you’d have received a text message alert, complete with a special emergency auditory tone and vibration, both repeated twice, warning you that danger was near, even though your home cell phone coverage area is thousands of miles away.

Whether our hapless traveler heard or heeded that warning, however, would likely depend on the decibel level of the music that was cranked up in the car.

More info on the emergency alerts is here.

Downtown Riverhead. Oct. 30, 2012.
Downtown Riverhead. Oct. 30, 2012.

So, what does this mean for Long Island? As with every June, with the beginning of hurricane season, the government warns us that it’s important not to wait until the last minute to prepare for nature to knock us on our asses. By then, there’s nothing good left to eat on the shelves in the grocery store.

If you need help learning from the federal government what you need to do in a storm, go here. If you’d rather listen to what our estimable governor has to say about hurricanes, you can go here.

Mr. Cuomo’s website has a neat map of Long Island here that can show you whether your neighborhood might be underwater in a hurricane. Local governments are working to put together better maps, which will show the storm surge danger down to the level of individual homes, as Southampton Town has already done.

But, really, what’s to worry about? We’ve already proven we’re Stronger than Sandy.




Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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