Preparing for Hurricane Irene

Friday, August 26, 2011

George Contreras, professor of the MPA Program in Emergency and Disaster Management at the Metropolitan College of New York, provides information on how to prepare for Hurricane Irene this weekend.

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George Contreras

Comments [54]

alan sarath from Teaneck, NJ

On a show, Sun 28Aug about 2:30p, you were doing about Tropical Storm Irene your guest Bob Henley was mistaken when he asserted that a natural or bottled gas water heater swamped by flood water would leak gas if the pilot light were extinguished.
It won't. All gas heating appliances are equipped with thermocouples that sense the presence (heat) of a pilot light flame. If there is no flame the gas valve will automatically turn off. Equipment with "electronic pilots" work the same way in that the spark generated first lights a pilot flame that is sensed by a thermocouple before the main gas valve can open. Again, no pilot flame no gas flow.

Aug. 28 2011 02:47 PM
francyne pelchar from Pelham Bay

I'm not repenting. have no regrets! Seriously annoyed at the hurricane because the Dave Mathews, Bella Fleck concert on GI is canceled. And the puppet event on Sun that we were going to attend.

Aug. 27 2011 11:28 AM
Bobbie from Bronx, NY

Don't forget extra food and water for your pets!

Aug. 26 2011 12:01 PM
brian from midtown

Bloomberg botched the blizzard and is overcompensating on Irene.

Aug. 26 2011 11:50 AM

Should I euthanize my family so they will be spared experiencing this disaster? I need advice - I just don't know what to do.

Aug. 26 2011 11:42 AM
Nica from Upper West Side

Hello again, what are crane operator businesses doing to secure the cranes throughout the city?

Aug. 26 2011 11:33 AM
Ben from Brooklyn

Should Bloomberg remind people that their AC units should be screwed in tightly? I can't imagine high winds and precariously perched AC units will turn out to be good news for anyone...

Aug. 26 2011 11:30 AM
Kris from Oceanside, NY

I keep hearing about NYC flood zones... I work just a few miles away from Queens, in Oceanside, Long Island- and trying to figure out if I need to prepare my office for a flood.

What gives, Brian? How about some coverage outside the five boroughs!

Aug. 26 2011 11:30 AM
Beth from Coney Island

I'm still trying to figure out if I REALLY need to evacuate. I live in Coney Island, but three long blocks from the water. I live on the 7th floor of a high rise - the building is made of concrete and steel. I understand there may be power outages, but my building does have a generator. I know the folks that live in Sea Gate and low buildings next to the beach should leave. But do all of us in the high rises in our area have to go? If there is an evacuation, where do we go?? There are tons of high rise, high density housing developments down here. There is all the housing projects west of Stillwell Ave, Brightwater Towers, Trump Village & Amalgamated Warbasse to name a few. Its gotta be 100,000+ people. Where do all of us go???

Aug. 26 2011 11:09 AM
Frank Uccellini from New Dorp, S.I.

You keep mentioning the "Zone A" areas in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. All the South Shore of Staten Island is in "Zone A" as well. Staten Island hospital is being evacuated now.

Aug. 26 2011 10:39 AM
edgar from chelsea

I live on the 6th fl and my building is surrounded with scafflold structures. I am not sure if they will withstand the winds. Any ideas if I should be concerned about it?

Aug. 26 2011 10:35 AM
Corey from Brooklun

I am an NYC public school teacher and have received several phone messages from the city about staffing shelters and helping with evacuation. This is news to me that this is part of my job. Do you have any further info on this?


Aug. 26 2011 10:33 AM
Joel Hubbard from Smithtown
Take the training for yourself, family and your Community!

Aug. 26 2011 10:33 AM
Mollie from Red Hook

Brian- Zone A covers a lot more area than the three that you're mentioning. Take a look at the Mayor's website. We live in Red Hook and are now moving things to high shelves and planning to evacuate.

Aug. 26 2011 10:32 AM
matt from brooklyn

let's remember - if we sow fear now and nothing happens, people will not listen next time.

crying wolf, brian!

Aug. 26 2011 10:32 AM

The commenters on this page are _way_ ahead of the Mayor's office!

Aug. 26 2011 10:32 AM
matt from brooklyn

this is total fearmongering. there is no reason to believe that there will be winds that will take out many windows in manhattan.

this guy - and brian you are doing it too - is spreading fear.

there will be runs on stores. there will be near-riots. all because you people are making this out to be the apocalypse.

i've lived through full fledged cat 3 hurricanes in north carolina and we did not freak out like this. we did board up windows and so on, but we were on the windward side of the islands.

finally - this electricity stuff is nuts. the city is as likely to lose electricity for weeks as it always is: queens and long island - y'all are screwed, as always. nothing new.

Aug. 26 2011 10:31 AM
Jessica from New York, NY

Is it better to be on the ground floor or higher up in an apartment? I live on the 4th floor of an apartment building and my boyfriend lives on the 1st floor, which place is better to stay? Also even though I'm not in any of the evacuation zones, I'm fairly close to them. How at risk are the non-zone areas for getting damaged?

Aug. 26 2011 10:29 AM
Stephen from Inwood

Silly and embarassing show. Good idea, yes, but the way the show is turning out, (partially because of the crisis-oriented calls being selected) it inadvertantly paints a picture of a disaster when there is no factual basis that this will or can occur, adding to fear and long lines at stores, adding to the discomfort and safety of people tonight and tomorrow - before the suppposed event.

Aug. 26 2011 10:29 AM
Melissa from Crompond, NY

If I leave the area this weekend... will driving back on Sunday night be a bad idea??

Aug. 26 2011 10:29 AM
Dror Varolin from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Question: We are scheduled to head out in a couple of hours to see friends in Bridghampton (2 mi inland, not low lying). We live in Carroll Gardens, just outside a Zone C area. Should we stay home?

Aug. 26 2011 10:28 AM
Linda from Babylon, NY

Should we remove the air conds from the windows?

Aug. 26 2011 10:28 AM
Melissa from Crompond, NY

If I leave the area this weekend... will driving back on Sunday night be a bad idea??

Aug. 26 2011 10:28 AM
steve from Ridgewood, NY 11385

Should the window ACs be remove?

Aug. 26 2011 10:28 AM
ted from brooklyn

With respect to taping windows:
most high-rise and new buildings would be required to have tempered glass windows (which break like a car window into tiny crumbs), and so taping makes no sense. Unless you live in an old house with old windows it seems like a ridiculous request. Waste of tape!

Aug. 26 2011 10:28 AM
Don Davis

FEMA Form 554, July 2006:

"Taping your windows is a waste of time and energy. It provides little strength to the glass and no protection against flying debris. Once a Hurricane Warning has been issued you should shutter your doors and windows for protection"

Aug. 26 2011 10:28 AM
gordon from Lower East Side

Hi! We're hearing a lot about Zone A. What about us in Zone B?

Aug. 26 2011 10:27 AM
Nica from Upper West Side

Hi, can you please ask the expert -- what if I live in a building that has 6+ floors + water tower. The water has to be pumped. If we lose electricity it is my understanding we will have "water failure" in our building on floors 6 and below. Is that correct? Thanks so much for your show!

Aug. 26 2011 10:27 AM
Gretchen Bishop from ridgefield ct

Rather than purchasing water, you can fill pitchers, pots and water bottles with water from your sink now in preparation for the storm.

Aug. 26 2011 10:27 AM

On local NYC late evening news last night it was reported that taping windows doesn't do much, and, based on recent studies, experts are no longer recommending taping glass windows.

But do keep all windows closed.

Aug. 26 2011 10:26 AM
Phoebe from Sunnyside/Woodside

Question about downed trees and power lines. In Sunnyside/Woodside. There are so many of the flimsy London Planetrees in this neighbourhood, some of which are actually growing around power lines. Is this a major concern? Can we do anything at this stage?

If they do go down, do they cause fires, or is it just a question of ruining the local power grid?


Aug. 26 2011 10:26 AM
jannewyork from croton

do pane divider inserts work the same way as tape?

Aug. 26 2011 10:26 AM
Caitlin from Jersey City

Here's a storm surge map for Hudson County:

Aug. 26 2011 10:25 AM

Hey! Maybe we should leave work early! Or stay home Monday!

Think Bloomberg will recommend that?

Aug. 26 2011 10:25 AM
Slinger Francisco from Queens

Aug. 26 2011 10:24 AM
gary from queens


And get LED flashlights. Not just regular bulb lights that don't last long.

Aug. 26 2011 10:22 AM
Beatrice from Ft. Greene

Will flooding drive vermin to higher ground?

Aug. 26 2011 10:22 AM
jay from brooklyn

No brian we have not had hurricanes here before, not since 1938. This is part of the problem people think they have seen this before. Unless they were alive in 1938 or lived in an an area that regualry gets hurricanes they have not seen it. What people have seen is left over rain from a hurricane, but NOT an actual hurricane
People are not ready for this and neither is the city.

Aug. 26 2011 10:22 AM
Nicole from Brooklyn

Suggestions to prevent flooding for people in basements apartments? I've bought sandbags, a wetvac and some plumbing puddy to caulk the doors. Any other suggestions?

Aug. 26 2011 10:21 AM

1. If (if) you tape your windows, use tape that you will be able to remove later. I remember seeing tape on people's windows for _years_ after Hurricane Hugo in Boston.

2. Be sensible. The hoarding mentality if contagious. The minute people hear of lines running around blocks, they head out to join the line.

3. Is the city doing anything about price-gouging? The average corner market is NYC is going to up its mark-up from 200% to - what - 500%?

4. You really want to go survivalist, folks? Have rope. Have a flint or fire-striker -- not matches. Have a first aid kit. Have fresh water saved up. Gallons. If you're going to Eastern Mountain Sports or REI, get a water filter.

5. Lighten up. You can see the nightly TV news people itching to generate some more ad-revenue. This is a light blow. Storm surge is a real risk.

6. Of course, the MTA delays for excess _sun_. A quarter inch of snow shuts down some areas. We can be sure the donut brigade sees a great opportunity for "unavoidable delays."

7. Thousands of people moving their cars from the Gowanus Canal area to Park Slope? Get your lawn chairs out and watch the chaos.

Aug. 26 2011 10:21 AM
Jackie from Queens

One tip I've heard is to fill your bathtub with water before the storm hits. It's a good way to ensure a large amount of fresh water.

Aug. 26 2011 10:21 AM
Kent Larsen

What about window air conditioners? Should they be taken out of windows?

Aug. 26 2011 10:21 AM
Karen from Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

Pets? If we are housebound by 70mph winds - how do our critter friends use their outdoor facilities?

Aug. 26 2011 10:20 AM
hmi from Brooklyn

As Caesar points out above, is proving useless in an emergency. I havent' been able to log on since yesterday.

Aug. 26 2011 10:20 AM
glenn ligon from manhattan

does no electricity mean no gas?

Aug. 26 2011 10:19 AM
Carol Hillson from Inwood NY

If people need to evacuate they recommends public transportation. But they are planning to stop the subway - so then what?

Aug. 26 2011 10:19 AM

What do people in the new all glass apartments need to do with their large windows? Is tape enough for these wall size windows?

Aug. 26 2011 10:19 AM
Amanda from Manhattan

We have a car.
Our garage is on a pier on the East River.
We live in zone C in Manhattan.
Where do we run less risk of losing the car?
On the street? Or in the Garage?

Aug. 26 2011 10:19 AM
Penelope from Astoria NY

Should we take the window air conditioners out?

Aug. 26 2011 10:18 AM
Cesar from Manhattan

The NYC.GOV site is not responding, probably due to high traffic volume.

Aug. 26 2011 10:11 AM
kathryn from Brooklyn

I live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn which is Zone A on the map.

My question is when tomorrow will the subway shutdown and how much time after 8 am tomorrow will there be to leave?

Aug. 26 2011 10:11 AM
Linda from Jersey Shore

All prepped, food, water, batteries, beer,rum, gin, mixers and generator. We are a block from the evacuation zone. My husband is a surfer (surfing the same break for 45 years), he knows what can happen. We hope for the best but ALWAYS prepare for the worst, (hence the reason for gin, rum, beer and mixers)

Aug. 26 2011 10:04 AM
clive betters

no one talks about a big reason, people don't want to evacuate: how about fear of looting,or worse. this, is a touchy issue for sure,with all sorts of echoes, to the horrors and mishandling[i'm being generous] of katrina. btw- i'm not calling starving/dehydrating people looters. that mess,was from bushy and brownie..

Aug. 26 2011 09:44 AM
Frank G from Harlem, NY

Yesterday, Thursday I received an electronic call from the Department of Emergence Mangement asking if I wanted to volunteer to man an emergency evacuation center in my neighborhood. I agree.
Thursday evening, I received a third call instructing me to start my 12 hour shift on Friday at 10am. I'm volunteered to help my neighbors. However, I do resent being expected to work a 12 hour shift ( are the bankers that my tax dollars rescued to busy to help now).
Finally I mostly resent the mayor using this emergency to improve his legacy and have us forget his callous indifference to our suffering during the last winter storm.

Aug. 26 2011 09:24 AM

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