Cops: Post-Sandy gawkers should stay away from South Shore

A demolished boardwalk at Field 5 at Robert

A demolished boardwalk at Field 5 at Robert Moses State Park in West Islip. (Nov. 1, 2012) Photo Credit: James Carbone

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Gawkers and "curiosity seekers" should refrain from visiting Sandy-stricken areas, because they can get in the way of recovery efforts and also inadvertently cause more distress to suffering homeowners, Suffolk police said in an advisory that warned of several other dangers.

That suggestion applies especially to neighborhoods significantly damaged by the superstorm, primarily communities along the South Shore, police said.

"The presence of these individuals raises safety and security concerns for the public, as they do not recognize them as neighbors," the police advisory said. "The presence of onlookers can cause distress, anger and confusion to those homeowners who have been significantly impacted by the storm. Additionally, these individuals can inhibit utility workers and contractors from accessing affected areas to provide necessary assistance. Do not visit these areas unless it is absolutely necessary."

Crime suppression patrols of uniformed and plain clothes officers will cover areas in marked and unmarked vehicles, police said. Also, state police and the National Guard will help patrol communities and many of the law enforcement teams will be deployed to areas that are particularly vulnerable after the storm, police said.

Police also advised residents to be aware of the exact location of their cesspools because authorities have received several calls for cesspool collapsing. This is happening due to the age of the cesspool and also the water saturation of the ground due to Sandy.

Residents should not try to get into or near the cesspool because the toxic fumes from it can be life threatening, police said. Anyone whose cesspool has collapsed should call 911, police said.

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Police reiterated warnings not to use generators indoors and to place them in well ventilated areas due to the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Many people in the tri-state region have been taken to hospitals after breathing in too much carbon monoxide.

Suffolk police also reiterated warnings against driving until road conditions get better. Live wires, fallen trees and non-working traffic lights make driving hazardous, police said, and there is no definitive time on when all will be repaired.

Traffic cones and barrels have been placed at some intersections to adjust traffic patterns, police said. At other intersections, officers have been directing traffic, police said.

Intersections with non-working traffic lights should be treated as roadways with four-way stop signs, police said.

"No one should be driving on the roads unless it is absolutely essential," the advisory said.

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