Hurricane Sandy moved north on Friday and closer to landfall in Delaware Bay and south Jersey on Monday or early Tuesday even as East Providence officials made sure their emergency plans were set to go.
East Providence Fire Chief Joseph Klucznik said: "We will continue to monitor the storm through RIEMA (RI Emergency Management Agency). And we have a plan that will depend on the eventual track and impact of the storm."
City police, fire and public works officials "are on the same page with other emergency officials throughout the state, including the possibility that might make it necessary for East Providence to run each fire station as an individual responder."
Public works will be ready with heavy equipment to keep emergency routes open, Klucznik said. He pointed to last fall when Tropical Storm Irene cut off Riverside Terrace for a short while until DPW crews could cut up trees.
"We have different levels of response," the fire chief said. "We will bring in extra personnel if need be."
The deparment also will assign a fire captain to work with the dispatch center "to prioritize emergency calls. We won't let them stack up. We'll reply to all of them. But some may be of a higher priority."
East Providence also may set up an "emergency operations center" with radios, computers and telephones at the Rumstick fire station if the impact of the storm calls for it.
"This will give us the ability to help dispatch as well," Klucznik.
Residents also should be prepared to evacuate low-lying areas and go to a shelter. The city has three Red Cross-approved shelters: the high school, Riverside Middle School and the Senior Center. Each has a generator if the city loses electricity."
At the same time, the RI Emergency Management Agency is emhasizing that “the first 72 hours is on you!”
That’s the headline on a "personal emergency kit checklist" put together RIEMA. It says:
“After an emergency or disaster strikes, support and resources may not be available right away. Every home needs an emergency kit with a three-day (72 hours) supply of food, water and other basic needs.”
Here is the checklist:
- Water (1 gallon per person per day)
- Food (ready to eat, requires little water)
- Manual can opener, cooking supplies
- Disposable plates, cups, utensils
- Battery-operated/hand crank flashlights/radio
- Extra batteries
- Prescription medications
- Basic first aid kit
- Cash (small bills and coins)
- Games/activities for children
- Moist towelettes and hand sanitizer
- List of local shelters
- Pet supplies (food, water, leash, license, records)
- Baby needs (diapers, bottle, formula)
- Personal hygiene items
- Important family documents
- Cell phone charger
- Emergency contacts
- Plastic sheeting
- Duct tape
- Waterproof matches
- Utility knife
These items should be stored in a waterproof container that can be moved easily (plastic garbage can with lid and wheels is best). The container should be stored in a clean, dry, and easily accessible location.
If anyone in your family has special health care, functional or access needs, enroll in the RI Special Needs Emergency Registry. It identifies individuals who require special assistant during emergencies. Enrollment does not guarantee assistance, but it does allow first responders to plan for, prepare for and respond to the needs of the community.
Here is the website for the Registry. Or call 946-9996.