Schoharie County breathing a sigh or relief
People in Schoharie County are breathing a sigh of relief now that Sandy has come and gone. But every storm, big or small, is a lesson. As YNN's Maria Valvanis explains, it's one worth teaching.
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SCHOHARIE COUNTY, N.Y. -- The area missed the brunt of the storm, but it still gave local agencies and the people here a chance to put everything they learned from Irene to the test. A rainbow was just one more reason for people in Schoharie to smile Tuesday.
"We were lucky this time. We were fortunate the storm didn't hit us and impact us and all one has to do is look at YNN and see how it affected other communities," said Kevin Neary Director of Schoharie County Emergency Management.
A feeling known here all too well after dealing with Tropical Storm Irene just last year.
Sarah Goodrich of SALT said, "If you've been through any experience and don't learn from it, it's a waste. Quick action and quick decision making is essential."
"Fourteen months ago, we lost everything on the first floor, so this year, when we heard the storm was coming, we didn't want to take a chance,” said Sel Somers. “We took everything out of the first floor. Thankfully, we didn't get hit, but we'd rather be safe than sorry."
Somes says he was able to better prepare for Sandy because of improved communication by local officials, a tool that was realized to be so vital by living through it once before.
Neary said, "We put up websites, we had a number, 211, which helped us get information out so people could access information right away."
"The more accurate the information people have, the more their anxiety's reduced. They can function on what they know and not what they can imagine," Goodrich said.
And even though the physical aftermath of Sandy was minimal in the village, officials say it was a good drill. Because living in a valley surrounded by water, you can never be too cautious.
Somes said, "It was just a few hours of inconvenience, I'd do the same thing, pack up and go."
"It could happen anytime. We could get flooded next week. It's just the way the area is," said Harold Vroman, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.
One of the things that will help agencies be even more prepared for next time is feedback from you. They want to know what they did that was helpful and what they can do better.
If you'd like to give your feedback to the Emergency Management Office, you can call (518) 295-2276.
If you'd like to give your feedback to Schoharie Area Long Term (SALT), you can call (518) 702-5017 or log onto their website at www.saltrecovery.org.