Just about a year after hit, sending area residents from their homes to the in Hampton Bays, the Village of Westhampton Beach discussed plans to set up it's own emergency shelter at the if another catastrophic storm hits.
The idea of a local shelter had been on the mind of Mayor Conrad Teller since Irene. Just days after the storm, Teller told Patch that a shelter is something that the village should explore.
To date, the village has relied on the Town of Southampton and the Red Cross to designate and operate shelter locations, however, because the Red Cross is overwhelmed, they have been slow to respond to Westhampton Beach's needs, according to village officials.
Police Chief Ray Dean said that during Irene, the village office was flooded with calls from Dune Road residents, who were evacuated as they often are during large storms, trying to find a place to go.
"We can't tell people to evacuate and not have a place for them to go," said Chief of Police Raymond Dean.
By having a Westhampton Beach Village shelter in place, Dean said the village won't have to rely on the Red Cross or Southampton's Shelter which is about 14 miles away from Dune Road.
According to Rebecca Molinaro, the village clerk, the Westhampton Beach shelter will be created in partnership with the school district much like a partnership that has been formed in Sag Harbor. She indicated that the high school already has a generator and the costs of setting up the shelter will be covered by FEMA.
Mike Radday, superintendent of the Westhampton Beach School District said that the board of education supports the plan.
A resolution to create the shelter is expected to appear on the village's September meeting agenda.