Sayville Fire Department officials are asking residents not to head down to town beaches, specifically Foster Avenue and Port O’Call, as Hurricane Sandy nears, lands or departs.
“Please keep off and away from that area. The storm last year brought hundreds of people down there and presented a major safety issue. We want people to be safe and that means staying inside,” said Fire Department Chief Tom Pantano who gave a Hurricane Sandy briefing to his department Sunday afternoon.
“The less people are out the less incidents and the more safe everyone will be,” he told Patch before he briefed about 50 members at the fire house meeting.
During the briefing Pantano reviewed current storm data, noting higher winds and higher coastal surges are now expected. The fire department will not leave the firehouse in winds of 50 mph or above due to the hazard such winds pose. The department will handle calls on a case per case basis, and stressed that fire department members need to be safe and aware of dangers the storm poses on arrival and after it’s over.
Residents should call LIPA regarding downed power lines, the Community Ambulance for medical emergencies and the fire department if there is a life danger situation.
“You guys did a phenomenal job during last year’s Hurricane Irene and I want to thank you again for that,” he told the standing room only audience at the fire department briefing.
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Pantano showed video clips of the bay surges during Irene, as well as a video about a flaming electrical wire on a street and a clip of how easily trees are uprooted in high winds.
“We looking at six to 11 foot surges and that’s not good. We’re looking at a full moon with this storm and that’s not good. There’s already flooding down by the Cull House and several other south streets in Sayville,” he noted.
As of 2 p.m. Islip Town officials enacted an evacuation order for residents living south of Montauk Highway and living in a coastal flood zone. Homeowners who may not know if they are in such a zone can call 244-5380 to find out.
As of 1:30 p.m. Good Samaritan Hospital had evacuated 18 patients and planned to evacuate the rest, a total of 73, by this evening, said Pantano.
He advised fire department members to ensure their family's safety and home safety and to keep their own personal safety in mind if called out to respond to emergency situations.
“We did a good job last year and no one got hurt. We want that same result this year,” he said, advising members to wear full gear on any call. “Take care of yourself and use caution in dealing with any structure fire given the high winds,” he added.
“We will be responding to any incident that presents a life hazard,” he said, adding that after-storm response requires just as much safety attention as during the storm.
“If the street lights are out it’s hard to see downed trees,” he said. “Be careful and be aware. As we’re hearing from town and county officials this is going to be a really bad storm.”
“Just please be safe,” Pantano told his members. “I just can’t stress that enough.”