Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone has declared a disaster emergency as of noon Friday.
The decision, made at a morning meeting at Town Hall, calls for the implementation of the town's disaster preparedness plan aouthorizing fire, rescue, emergency services and all other relevant town departments to take action to provide necessary assistance to protect public health and safety, according to a town press release.
“I am making this declaration now to underscore the importance of preparing for this storm and its aftereffects,” Petrone said. “Now is the time for everybody to secure loose objects, ensure that they have adequate supplies of food and water, that they have fueled their vehicles and that they have made plans about how they will communicate with loved ones. As the storm progresses, I ask people to consider this motto: Be aware, be prepared and be safe.”
Officials from the incorporated villages of Asharoken, , Northport and are calling on residents of shore areas to consider evacuating well in advance of Hurricane Irene reaching Long Island, according to the release.
Petrone warned residents in along the shore and those who live in low-lying areas to consider evacuation because of possible road washouts. “Once the storm begins, they, and everybody else, should stay off the roads.”
Town Information Officer A.J. Carter said the the Red Cross will open a shelter at Walt Whitman High School at 10 a.m. Saturday. If necessary, the town will open the Village Green Center as a staging area and free bus service until 7 p.m. tomorrow for persons who cannot get to Whitman.
Carter said town officials will continue to monitor the situation with future decisions depending on the track of the storm now bearing down on the North Carolina coastline.
"We are trying to figure out now what is the time to open our emergency operations center," said Carter. "That's the supervisor's decision."
Huntington's emergency communications facility, located in the General Services Building on Pulaski Road near Huntington Farms, is equipped with state-of-the-art communications technology to handle emergency situations.