It is unlikely that this storm will have the same impact as last year’s, Irene. However, there is the likelihood of heavy rains, high winds and downed trees. There’s no reason to panic, but what should you be doing now?
- Pay attention. Most news sources are covering the storm’s progress. As the storm works its way up the coast there will be more information and specific recommendations. Have a battery-operated and/or crank radio. Most weather apps for smart phones relay severe weather alerts. Install one and adjust the settings to let you know when something is happening.
- Check if you have the right supplies.
- Power outages. These storms often cause power outages. Are you prepared? See JCRC-NY’s Power Outages 101 for Jewish Organizations (PDF) for suggestions and tips. Stock up on flashlight batteries and make sure that your cell phones are fully charges (and think about having a spare battery).
- Food. You might not be able to get out for a few days and local stores may not get their regularly scheduled deliveries.
- Batten the hatches. Items left outside can become airborne in high winds. Either bring them inside or make sure that they are secured.
New York State recently received a disaster declaration for the blizzard/snow event that occurred on December 26th, 2011. Qualifying organizations affected by the blizzard will be reimbursed for 87.5% of their direct and documented snow removal costs covering a 48 hour period between December 26-27 (you might be able to choose a 48 hour period which includes part of December 28th). The costs must be deemed reasonable and necessary to qualify.
- Should my organization apply for reimbursement? Add up your direct and documented snow removal costs, such as overtime, temporary employees, contractors, equipment rental and ice melter. The process will take some paperwork so your organization will have to determine whether you have sufficient expenses to warrant the work involved.
- How do I submit an application? The first step is simple. Download two short forms: a Request for Public Assistance (PDF) and a PNP Facility Questionnaire (PDF). Fill them out and submit them.
- Mail. Public Assistance Section, NY State Office of Emergency Management, 1220 Washington Ave, Bldg 22, Suite 101, Albany NY 12226-2251.
- Fax. (518) 322-4984
- When are these forms due? Organizations in Nassua, Suffolk and Richmond must submit these forms by Friday, March 18th. Those in the Bronx and Queens must submit by April 6th. Although Brooklyn is not yet officially included, organizations should plan to submit by April 6th.
- Who is eligible? Certain nonprofit organizations in Nassau, Suffolk, Bronx, Queens and Richmond counties. NY officials have petitioned to include Brooklyn.
- What kind of nonprofits are included? Eligible private non-profit facilities fall into two groups and the application process might be slightly different for these categories:
- critical. non-profit educational, utility, emergency, medical or custodial care facility, including a facility for the aged or disabled, and other facility providing essential governmental type services to the general public, and such facilities on Indian reservations.”
- non-critical. Museums, zoos, community centers, libraries,homeless shelters, senior citizen centers, rehabilitation facilities, shelter workshops and facilities which provide health and safety services of a governmental nature. All such facilities must be open to the general public.”
- non-governmental. Reimbursements will be given to organizations providing “services of governmental nature”. Other types of organizations, including houses of worship, do not seem to qualify.
- What will happen next? After you submit the Request for Public Assistance you will be contacted by a public assistance coordinator/liaison(PAC/PAL) assigned to your organization. These knowledgeable (PAC/PAL) team members will get you the additional forms needed to complete your application and assist you at every step of the process.
- Further questions? Check out the Disaster Fact Sheet (PDF) and the Applicant Handbook (PDF). If your questions are not answered, email Shannon Green at the NY State Office of Emergency Management (firstname.lastname@example.org).