Eastchester Opens Safe Center for Irene Victims

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – A safe center will be open in Eastchester on Saturday in anticipation of Hurricane Irene. The Supervisor's office issued a statement Friday afternoon noting that residents will be evacuated to the Field House at Haindl Field in the north end if police or other village officials spot trouble in their area.

"If residents need to be evacuated, police will notify them and help them get to the field, where there will be generators for electricity, food and water," the statement said.

Eastchester Supervisor Anthony Colavita also urged residents to stay safe. "The safest place for residents to stay is in their homes," Colavita said. "We encourage people to stay indoors and wait out the storm."

Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond said the village has been preparing for the storm since Monday.

"We have been clearing out catch basins and storm drains for better rain flow. We have been trimming some loose tree branches in anticipation of high winds. We have secured any untethered items in our parks and village properties that would also be a casualty of extreme winds,"Ecklond said on Friday. "We will continue to make every effort to safeguard the Village throughout this event."

Members of Tuckahoe's Department of Public Works were out in force on Friday and worker Silvio Conte even traveled to Eastchester in the Village bucket truck to take down a broken tree branch.

The DPW in both Eastchester and Tuckahoe will continue their patrol on Saturday looking for clogged storm drains, and sagging tree limbs before the storm hits.

At Lake Isle, Assistant Manager Jay Maxwell said staffers will tie down or move anything that might get caught up in the heavy winds.

"We are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst," Maxwell said on Friday morning.

While Tuckahoe and Eastchester officials offered residents basic reminders such as filling up gas tanks, making sure people have cash on hand in case there is no power and no ATMs, and making sure you have all of your medication available, they urged residents to dial 911 in case of a medical emergency. Those sentiments were echoed by Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corps Chief Jude Valerioti, which covers Bronxville, Eastchester and Tuckahoe.

"Please only call 911 if you have a medical emergency," Valerioti asked. "This is the best way to be sure medical emergencies are given the priority they should have."

EVAC Lt. Nick Louros said that all three ambulances are stocked and ready to go. "We have three crews on and extra paramedics on standby ," Louros said. "We are ready for whatever needs to be taken care of."

The National Weather Service has declared a hurricane watch for Westchester County and Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared New York in a State of Emergency. As of Friday afternoon the storm was projected to hit Westchester sometime Saturday night. When it hits, Irene is expected to bring 70 to 90 mile per hour wind gusts and up to ten inches of rain.

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