Mount Sinai helps prepare Long Beach residents for natural disasters


With hurricane season here, Mount Sinai South Nassau hosted a hurricane-preparedness workshop on June 6 to make residents aware of the serious weather they could face in the coming months.

The workshop came on the heels of a news conference on the Long Beach boardwalk on May 31, at which representatives of the American Red Cross and city and state officials discussed the hurricane season and how Long Beach residents should prepare for it.

This was the first community event at the MSSN Doctors Facility on East Bay Drive, which opened last June. The presentation was given by Lt. Melisa Rosario and Staff Sgt. Jeremmy Diaz, of the New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services, who detailed disaster protocols as part of the New York Citizen Preparedness Training Program. The program sends Homeland Security representatives to cities across New York to teach residents about the tools and resources they need to properly prepare for natural disasters.

“We’re here so that way we can prepare, respond to, recover from and, most importantly, get involved, because sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know,” Rosario said. “This won’t only help you, but will also help your loved ones. We want to make sure that the citizens in our state are prepared to recover from anything.”

Emphasizing that there is sometimes a need to fend for oneself during and after a natural, man-made or biological disaster, Rosario highlighted the importance of knowing how to prepare for and react to an emergency, including the possibility of evacuation, and how to communicate with family members. She explained how to prepare emergency kits, and how to customize supplies for family members, ranging from canned food and gallons of water, to vaccination and immunization cards, to toys to keep pets calm.

Liz Treston, former Long Beach city councilwoman and co-chair of Long Beach Community Organizations Active in Disasters, was among the roughly 45 attendees, and spoke briefly at the event.

“Hurricane season is going to be extremely active,” Treston said. “I don’t expect a Sandy-level event, but enough to cause disruption. … People get comfortable thinking they have things, but when they go for what they need in an emergency, it’s not there. Everyone needs to help each other be prepared, not scared. Our job is to make sure that you’re prepared.”

The attendees went home with certificates for completing the workshop and state-provided emergency backpacks equipped with disposable medical gloves, goggles, flashlights, whistles, pocket radios and other materials.

MSSN plans to offer more community activities, including hands-on CPR and Stop the Bleed training. The hospital will also sponsor a health fair on the Long Beach boardwalk on June 28, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and offer free services such as on-site screenings and tests by doctors and nurses, in tents set up between Edwards and Riverside boulevards.

Attendees were also reminded to sign up for Long Beach alerts for both major and smaller events, to stay up to date with weather forecasts and to be aware of emergency protocols. To subscribe to text messages for emergencies and other hazards in Long Beach, text 11561 to 38276, or call (516) 705-7414.