October 30, 2012

Editorial: Prepared for Sandy's wrath


---- — If Sandy does its worst, at least this state and this region will have the satisfaction of knowing they did their best to be ready.

For anyone who has been out of town, Sandy is the hurricane that overran the Caribbean and swept past the Southern Coast on its way to the North Country, claiming more than three dozen lives en route.

We remember last year’s Tropical Storm Irene, the massive storm that left parts of our region in tatters. We recall the seemingly unending rains that flooded streams, rivers and lakes. We look back on tree after tree being uprooted or severed by the high winds, many left afloat in a roiled-up Lake Champlain to smash into and mangle boats, docks, buildings and other property.

And, of course, we remember heroic neighbors, as always, who helped each other in whatever ways they could to survive the onslaught.

This time, we should be ready. With enormous efforts at preparation, and with luck, maybe those neighbors can stay home and just look after themselves.

The preparation started right at the top. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has paid several visits to the area since last year to check personally on the local state of readiness. He didn’t have to do that. If he had stayed in Albany or New York City, where the consequences are likely to be greater, no one would have said he hadn’t done his job.

When the governor, himself, pays a call to make sure all that can be done is done, it promotes maximum effort.

But local emergency workers don’t have to have a governor remind them of what needs to be done. They are experts in the science, and they are numerous. Fire department volunteers, utility workers, highway crews and the local Red Cross are all prepared for action. Government officials from our area have emergency plans in place.

Newspaper, television and radio staffs are getting the latest information to you, and you don’t have to wait for morning paper delivery or nightly newscasts. Local media outlets are making good use of the Internet, Twitter and mobile phone apps to get out the news immediately.

We can recall in past storms when residents of threatened areas stubbornly refusing to follow evacuation orders and paid the price for that. We hope no one in this region has been so foolish as to ignore all the warnings if they are in a vulnerable area.

None of us can say we haven’t been properly alerted to the possible dangers. This time, we should be able to say that as the storm makes its appearance, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be.

Thanks to all of the above and more for that.