September 25, 2018


Last Thursday, LICA was invited to attend the NYS Emergency Management Region 1 Roundtable, led by DHSES Region 1 Director Patrick Beckley, who appeared on the cover of LICA’s Long Island Road Warriors magazine released earlier this month. These quarterly regional meetings bring together key personnel from a multitude of agencies across our area. Each agency plays a critical role in emergency management, response or recovery and these gatherings ensure that stakeholders get the opportunity to meet and open lines of communications with other organizations who can assist, and to understand the various resources they offer.

In addition to several other DHSES leads, attendees included an impressive array of representatives from agencies including: NY State Police, OEM, DOT, DEC, SCPD, NCPD, Army National Guard, US Coast Guard, 24th Civil Support Team (a team specializing in weapons of mass destruction among other things), NOAA-National Weather Service, PSEG, National Grid, Airport Commissioners, and members of LIVOAD (Long Island Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters). 

As infrastructure professionals, Beckley recognized that LICA members can and do play an important role in emergencies. From helping to assess and repair damaged infrastructure, to providing services such as mass debris removal (as many of our members did after Superstorm Sandy), Beckley felt LICA should be part of these discussions. One DHSES team member approached LICA’s Lynn Barker afterward to discuss an effort to compile a complete list of members’ equipment and service capabilities, together with others across Long Island, so that the region has a clear and comprehensive list of resources it can access when emergencies strike. We also noted the need to identify and denote the contractual policies of each municipality when it comes to procuring emergency assistance.

LICA Executive Director Marc Herbst was also asked to serve as a speaker at Beckley’s next Regional Roundtable, to be held in January, so he can further highlight our organization and explain how our members can play a role in disaster assistance.

This particular meeting, held at LIU Tilles Center, began with a welcome and introduction by Beckley, followed by a short presentation by Dr. Harvey Kushner, Director of LIU Homeland Security Institute and Chairman of Cyber-Analytics and Criminal Justice, who spoke about the imminent dangers posed by terroristic cyber threats, which he believes are far more plentiful and dangerous than any natural disaster.

We also heard from Nelson Vaz, Warning Coordination Meterologist of WFO, who spoke about Hurricane Florence and this season’s current hurricane forecast. He noted that Superstorm Sandy was NOT a “worst-case scenario,” showing how much greater damage could be with a storm like Florence whose immense rain could wreak even greater havoc on our area. He also noted the fact that when storm wind power is doubled (ie from 40 to 80 mph), the impact is not merely two-fold, but rather eight-fold.

The focus then turned to local volunteer organizations who provide much needed aid and assistance to both victims and first-responders. These included:

  • Neela Lockel, CEO of American Red Cross of Long Island, spoke (via video conference) from the front lines of flood ravaged North Carolina, to describe how the Red Cross is assisting victims of Hurricane Florence in NC, SC and VA. Later, Elizabeth Barker, Director of Emergency Services for ARC-LI, spoke in person and went into greater detail about their local capabilities for disaster response on Long Island.

  • Rebecca Sanin, President and COO of the Health and Welfare Council of New York, spoke about the how and why impoverished citizens suffer greatest and for the longest periods of times after a disaster, and how they are working to help.

  • Randi Schubin Dresner, President & CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank, spoke of the work they do to feed the hungry year round, as well as the assistance they provide during crises to both citizens and first responders. She also shared a touching story of how they not only provide care in form of food, but at times, in form of something as simple yet meaningful as a hug.

LI Road Warriors Magazine is Here! Place an ad or find out more here.