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New Castle Learns Tough Lessons From Hurricane Sandy

New Castle Supervisor Susan Carpenter acknowledged the town needs to improve its emergency response and be more prepared for large storms.
New Castle Supervisor Susan Carpenter acknowledged the town needs to improve its emergency response and be more prepared for large storms. Photo Credit: Brian Marschhauser

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Hurricane Sandy may have brought out the best of New Castle’s citizens and business owners, but Supervisor Susan Carpenter said the storm also highlighted many deficiencies with the town’s emergency response plan.

“As your elected officials we have to recognize that the town of New Castle has to do more and do it better,” Carpenter said. “We have already begun the process of updating and improving our existing emergency plan and our emergency operations center.”

Carpenter said the town will immediately begin work to improve the town’s infrastructure to withstand such events. New Castle will review regulations concerning the installation of generators, review the town’s tree ordinance to better regulate pruning, will better coordinate shelters for residents without power, and will improve social media and email alerts to relay information to residents.

Carpenter said Con Edison was also at fault and said the utility company needs to do better at communicating with municipalities.

“The lack of Con Ed assistance made the process of clearing roads and restoring power extremely prolonged,” she said. “We had a very difficult time because we got very little assistance and very little information from Con Ed. Con Ed was simply not prepared and not organized enough to even give us information about where the crews would be and what they were doing.”

Despite the frustrations from the storm, Carpenter praised local merchants, media, public works employees, community organizations and residents for providing information, shelter, meals and more.

“Our most heartfelt thanks are reserved for the citizens of New Castle for countless instances where they assisted their neighbors in this difficult time,” she said. “Many of our residents with power took in their neighbors without power.”

Carpenter said the town is open to criticism and wants New Castle residents to offer suggestions on how it can improve.

“Extreme weather events are presenting emergencies of a different and much more destructive magnitude, and with more regularity than ever before,” she said. “At this point, we have to accept that weather extremes are the new normal and we have to be prepared. And with your help, we will be.”

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