FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 28, 2012
MAYOR BLOOMBERG VISITS ONE OF CITY’S 76 EVACUATION CENTERS AND URGES NEW YORKERS IN LOW-LYING AREAS TO COMPLY WITH MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER
Mandatory Evacuation Order in Effect for All People in Zone A
The following are Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s remarks as delivered today at Seward Park High School:
“We are here at the evacuation shelter at Seward Park High School, one of the 76 evacuation shelters located in public schools around the city. There are already more than 90 people here who have evacuated from homes in Zone A, and there are hundreds more in shelters across the city.
“First I want to thank those for taking quick action to ensure their own safety and to make it easier for the rest of us. I want to thank all the people here working. They are volunteers and doing a phenomenal job.
“And I’d like to give everybody a little more of update on the City’s preparations for Hurricane Sandy right now.
“The forecast for a large and dangerous storm surge is the same as it was this morning.
“Earlier today, I signed an Executive Order for a mandatory evacuation of homes and businesses in Zone A, a low-flying coastal area- low-lying coastal areas of the City.
“To reiterate what are the low-lying areas, Zone A includes Coney Island, Manhattan Beach and Red Hook and other areas along the East River in Brooklyn; all of the Rockaways, and also Hamilton Beach and Broad Channel in Queens; almost all the coastline of Staten Island; City Island, a small patch of Throgs Neck, and another patch of the South Bronx; Battery Park City and stretches of the West Side waterfront and of the Lower East Side and East Village in Manhattan.
“There are two maps on display someplace here, which we have or we’re trying to get, which will show you the areas of Zone A. But the bottom line is- the other map shows the 76 evacuation centers.
“If you live in Zone A and have not yet evacuated to a safer location out of the Zone, it’s crucial that you do so as soon as possible. Timing- time is running out.
“If you’re not sure if you live in Zone A, find out by calling 311 or going to nyc.gov, where you can find a map of the zones or type your address into the zone finder. The zone finder may be slow, because we’re just getting inundated with requests, but just have some patience and hang on. It does work, and it will tell you where to go.
“I can’t stress enough that this is for your own safety, and that if you refuse to evacuate, you’re not only putting yourself at risk, but also the first responders who will have to assist you in an emergency.
“Everyone must keep in mind – especially those in Zone A who have not yet left – that mass transit service is going to be suspended tonight. The last subway will run at 7 pm. The last buses will run at 9 pm. They will remain closed until further notice, after the storm passes. If you have not yet left Zone A, please to get to- get to public transportation as soon as possible.
“If you have friends or family you can stay with outside of Zone A, that’s your best option.
“If you live in Zone A and don’t have the option to stay with friends and family out of the Zone, shelters like the one we’re in right now are available for your use. There are 76 of them in public schools around the city, and they are open, fully staffed and fully supplied. They provide a safe place to sleep, meals, and you can also bring your pets. You can find their locations by calling 311 or, as I said, the finder on nyc.gov.
“If you are going to use one of these shelters, we strongly urge you to get there via public transportation, and that has to be, obviously, as soon as possible. But there really aren’t facilities to park cars.
“All of these shelters have at least one entrance usable for wheelchairs.
“If you require further information, you can also visit the OEM website or the website of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, which will provide information about accessible transportation.
“If you cannot evacuate yourself and need assistance, call 311. And if you go to a shelter and use regular medication or require medical equipment like oxygen tanks, be sure to bring them with you. Also bring the name and contact information for your doctor if you need medical care.
“Buses provided by the Department of Education have been sent to all 26 public housing developments in Zone A. They are available to take the 45,000-plus residents in these developments to dedicated shelters.
“Flyers have been posted in every one of these developments, and NYCHA staff is knocking on doors to alert residents about the mandatory evacuation and to let them know the location of buses to shelters. NYCHA is also making calls to residences telling them to leave.
“The NYPD is making announcements on those- in those developments and throughout Zone A on loudspeakers in some of the squad cars.
“Residents can also call 311 to find out where to get those buses and to get help with evacuation.
“As I said earlier today, let me remind you one more time: 7 pm subway stop, 9 pm buses. And in the NYCHA housing, 7 pm, all elevators in those 26 developments will be shut off. Heat and hot water will also be shut off. So if you live in one of these developments, it’s imperative that you get to a safe location out of Zone A before then.
“As was announced earlier today, all public schools are closed tomorrow morning, Monday. All school-based after-school programs are closed tomorrow as well, as are most other afterschool programs.
“Let me give you some other updates on City operations: The Department of Homeless Services has enhanced street outreach to encourage people on the street to seek shelter. Street outreach will continue during the storm, safety permitting.
“Senior Centers will be closed early on Monday and will remain closed on Tuesday.
“The Coast Guard has closed New York Harbor beginning tonight, and all cruise ships originally scheduled for arrival Monday and Tuesday have been diverted.
“The Staten Island Ferry will operate until 8 pm from St. George Terminal and 8:30 from Whitehall Terminal this evening. Afterward, service will be suspended until further notice.
“Let me also remind you that East River Ferry service has been suspended.
“All outdoor filming permits are being suspended for tomorrow. No City-authorized filming will take place.
“The three public library systems that cover all five boroughs will be closed tomorrow. That’s the New York, Queens, and Brooklyn public library systems.
“We’ll continue to give updates today and tomorrow. You can visit nyc.gov for updates or call 311. You can follow NYCMayorsOffice on Twitter.
“But the most important thing I can say right now is if you live in Zone A, you must evacuate.
“We have a plan to keep you and all New Yorkers safe. If you follow that plan, we’ll get through this storm just fine. If you don’t, people’s lives are in danger. Not only yours, but the people who might be called to rescue you in an emergency.
Marc La Vorgna/John McCarthy (212) 788-2958
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