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Year After Irene, Westhampton Beach Hatches Emergency Shelter Plan

The Westhampton Beach Village Board will set up it's own emergency shelter, if another storm hits the area.

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. 

George Smith August 29, 2012 at 02:56 PM
The Trustees should carefully examine the financial responsibility that they may be assuming by operating an exacuation center. What will it cost to train and deploy Village employees during an emergency situation such as a catastrophic storm. What will it cost to stock the center with emergency food, water and other essentials such as blankets & cots? What insurance liability is the Village assuming by taking resposibility for the health & safety of all the evacuees? Will the evacuation center accomodate only Village residents or provide shelter for the entire school district residents. If it will be open for all evacuees in the area, will the Village of the Dunes, WHB School and Quogue Village share the cost of manning the center?? Has anyone considered why the Red Cross has discontinued an emergency shelter in Westhampton Beach? Was it because there were too few residents seeking shelter in the past? Many of the Dune Road residents probably have no problem going to the Stop & Shop, the many restaurants and the movie theater in Hampton Bays. Why is it so far to go if you need emergency shelter? The Dune Road residents generally choose to go back to the comfort of their other homes since evacuation orders are issued way before the storm is estimated to hit.

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