Lessons learned across the region from Hurricane Sandy are myriad, but the main takeaway for the Village of Sleepy Hollow has been the need for better communication.
The effort to create a hazard mitigation plan was underway before Sandy struck, but the storm came as a rude reminder that we have more work to do, said Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio.
“We already have a lot of plans,” he said regarding emergency responses to natural and manmade disasters of all kinds, but we hadn’t “compiled all procedures in one document.”
The Village received a grant to work out such a far-ranging and all-encompassing plan and had hired a consultant before the storm, but “we did learn a lot from Sandy to incorporate,” Giaccio said.
He listed as foremost the need for better communication systems in place to get information out when so many lacked power, internet, telephones, television. Next was having warming and/or overnight shelters ready to go sooner.
A recent informational meeting for the public was the first in a series of meetings the village will be having throughout the drafting process. The village has created a committee to work with the consultant including leaders like the Ambulance Captain, DPW Supervisor, Building Inspector, Police Chief and Giaccio himself.
Over several months, these leaders will supply information to put a draft plan together which will be presented at a public hearing. The plan will then be presented to the state for review along with FEMA, with another public hearing to follow.
Other organizations will be brought “into the fold,” said Giaccio, who have a stakehold in this, namely the hospital and the schools.
Once a hazard mitigation plan is in place, Giaccio said, more funding from future grants to help implement the plan can come.