FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 29, 2012
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-815-4462 (cell)
Westchester Legislators Pass Generator Inventory Bill to Increase Storm Preparedness
White Plains, NY – Apropos of the impending arrival of a major storm to the region, the Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously approved a bill today at its regular meeting that will increase the County’s emergency preparedness through an inventory of mobile and portable generators owned by Westchester as well as those owned by all the municipalities throughout the county.
“With more and more catastrophic weather events taking place, it’s important that we know where all the usable and available generators are around Westchester in order to effectively respond to power outages at Office of Emergency Management centers and other critical facilities,” said BOL Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-Katonah), who introduced the bill. “This will give public safety officials and first responders an idea of where gaps exist in terms of being able to utilize generators when we need them most.”
Harckham noted that the idea of the legislation arose in October 2011 after a freak autumn snowstorm left many of Westchester’s northern communities without power for several days and more.
“Had these outages been countywide events, I fear we may not have had the appropriate inventory of generators,” said Harckham. “This legislation will enable us to quantify the municipal need and whatever backup stock is available.”
The approved legislation, which now goes to County Executive Robert P. Astorino for signing, will require the Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services to conduct an inventory of County-owned mobile and portable generators, including type, capacity, age, location and current use. Also, the legislation asks for a survey of all of Westchester’s municipalities along the same lines to assess the emergency power needs of their critical municipal facilities.
In connection with the municipal survey, it is also requested that municipalities identify the facilities that will remain operational if there is a power outage and whether they are equipped with a working generator.
“The whole point of emergency preparedness is to learn from earlier events and make sure we don’t repeat past mistakes so as to increase our public safety capacities,” said Harckham. “I’m pleased my colleagues on the Board understand the importance of this legislation and know that it will benefit all of our communities. It’s a great example of working together for the common good.”
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