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Long IslandPolitics

Riverhead residents learn to prepare for emergencies

Army National Guard Sgt. Syed Ahmed teaches dozens

Army National Guard Sgt. Syed Ahmed teaches dozens of residents how to be prepared for a disaster during an emergency training course at Riverhead Town Hall on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Credit: Randee Daddona

Around 100 residents got a crash course in disaster preparedness at Riverhead Town Hall Monday as part of a state effort to better respond to the next big emergency.

Representatives from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office as well as Suffolk County and Riverhead officials coordinated the event, led by Sgt. Syed Ahmed of the Army National Guard.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter told residents “having you guys prepared helps me” when the next disaster strikes.

“It’s comforting to know you guys have some training so that when the town supervisor says [during an evacuation order] get the hell out of your house you do it,” he said.

The hourlong training offered tips on preparing emergency plans and kits, spotting and reporting suspicious activity, and preparing a home for evacuation. Calverton resident Jeanne Townsend during a question and answer session got information about inspecting the tie-downs that secure her home trailer.

Cuomo’s Citizen Preparedness Corps, begun in 2014, aims to give residents tools to prepare for “any type of disaster” and recover “as quickly as possible.”

Ahmed said New York was high on the list of states facing emergencies because of the state’s high number of daily terror threats. He referred residents to a state “See Something Say Something” app that lets them report suspicious activity.

The program, which gives attendees backpacks filled with emergency essentials valued at $90, advises residents to build individualized survival kits for every family member. The kits should include medications and other medical supplies, water and food enough to last seven to 10 days. The kits should also include work gloves, goggles, blankets or sleeping bags, extra batteries, manual can opener and a reflective vest.

The plan advises supplementing your survival kit every week, and to include entertainment items such as playing cards or paperback books.

Residents who can’t make it to the training can take the course online at Residents can also sign up to get emergency alerts from state government at

The next training on Long Island will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 7 at the Mastic Beach Fire Department at 265 Neighborhood Road.

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