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NYCHA Helps Red Hook Houses Prepare for Future Storms

By Gustavo Solis | October 24, 2013 9:31am
  NYCHA set up a drill in Red Hook to show residents what help they would receive after an emergency.
Command Post
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RED HOOK — Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy, Red Hook residents got a glimpse of how the city will plan future emergency responses.

On Wednesday, the New York City Housing Authority, along with the Office of Emergency Management and FEMA, set up a command post  stocked with tables, informational fliers, raffle tickets and emergency kits with flashlights and blankets at a parking lot of Red Hook Houses at 55 Dwight St.

"It's a start," said Mickey Reid, 59, of the tenants association. "It's a good idea, it's informing the community."

During a real emergency, the command post would be filled with staff from local and federal agencies to give residents information.

Two years ago, Hurricane Irene left Red Hook residents with a false sense of security when little damage occurred, residents said.

But after widespread flooding and blackouts wrought by Sandy last year, there is a much greater focus on emergency preparedness, said local resident Doris Vaughn, 62.

"I was not prepared — I live alone and I'm a senior citizen," she said. "Now I have an overnight case and I have my meds ready to get out of Dodge."

The storm caused some residents to be without water and electricity for two weeks.

"We will continue to do this year-round because emergencies are not just hurricanes and snow storms," said Michael Johnson, senior advisor to the general manager of NYCHA.

At Wednesday's event, many residents signed up for Red Hook First Responders, which lets residents train with OEM and FEMA first responders.

Some also signed up for NYCHA Alerts, which keep people up to date on power outages and other issues.

NYCHA will host another command post drill at the Campos Plaza on the Lower East Side on Oct. 29.