Nassau concertgoers get storm safety reminder

Kathleen Rodney, of Hempstead, picks up a free Kathleen Rodney, of Hempstead, picks up a free disaster preparedness kit for her home prior to a concert at Eisenhower Park. (Aug. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

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They came ready to hear Huey Lewis and the News, but the crowd at Eisenhower Park left with an unexpected safety reminder.

It came in the form of 400 emergency tote bags that volunteers distributed to concertgoers at the park in East Meadow yesterday evening. Filled with such items as water bottles, bandages, flashlights, garbage bags and whistles, the drama of superstorm Sandy loomed large.

"The post-Sandy reality is I may not be able to get to the Band-Aids in my bathroom because the flood's blocking the door," said Jan Epstein, a senior manager at the Allstate Foundation, one of the event's sponsors.

Other sponsors included Points of Light and the Long Island Volunteer Center.

Battle-weary Sandy victims lauded a radio flashlight powered by cranking a lever.

"You can't always get a hold of batteries," said Jill Rezak, 47, who was displaced from her Oceanside condo by the Oct. 29 storm.

Organizers said they saw a need for preparedness efforts after witnessing the toll recovery took.

Allstate insurance agent Christina Shaw, 33, of Long Beach, recalled moving out of her home after 5 feet of water rushed in.

She said Long Islanders must wade through information about insurance, such as the difference between homeowner and flood policies, sooner rather than later. As she puts it, before ABC's weather anchor "Sam Champion gets on the news."

"It's very timely," said Jan DuPaul, 66, of Hempstead. "People do have short memories, so this is a way of reminding people."

She described the whistle as handy, wary that "voices get lost in the chaos."

Rezak, for one, has been busy stocking up, buying tea candles from Ikea, and she's saved meals ready to eat, MREs, from last fall.

Preparing helps, she said, but it only goes so far.

Those meals? "They only last seven years," she said.

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