Both left hundreds of local families without power for days. The area was covered in tons of debris, and in some cases, the cleanup took weeks. Since then, elected leaders have been discussing how best to communicate with residents during future emergencies when it comes to spreading information about shelters and publicizing distribution times for resources like dry ice.
Officials with the Village of Brewster and the Town of Southeast initially looked into Blackboard Connect, an online system that would have allowed users to add several phone numbers and email addresses for contact purposes during emergencies.
Leaders initially thought the nominal cost would be worth the benefits, but that was before they realized New York State provides a similar service, NY-Alert, free of charge. Officials with both municipalities made mention of the program at meetings earlier this month. Southeast Supervisor Tony Hay said the Town hopes to host a joint meeting with the Village next month so folks know "exactly how" the system works.
"I think it is a really well thought-out initiative on the part of the state," he said.
The NY-Alert Civilian's Portal allows users, whose information is kept confidential, to receive updates on everything from weather to road closures to "response actions" by local and state officials during emergencies.
"It is part of New York State’s ongoing commitment to provide New Yorkers with information so that they will understand the risks and threats that they may face and know how to respond accordingly," the site states. "Each of us has the responsibility to be as prepared as possible for any emergencies that may arise. One of the keys to preparedness is having up-to-date information."
To register, the system requests an individual's first and last name, a password, email address and a challenge question. Once the process is complete, he or she can adjust settings for receiving Amber Alerts, learning about emergencies near family members and friends, and more.
If you are a Southeast or Brewster resident, please take our poll, and feel free to add any additional information to the comments section below. Thanks for reading!