What a week it has been… storm watching, storm preparation, a State of Emergency, activation of the Emergency Operations Center, school closures, trees down, power outages, and unprecedented devastation in New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey. With three days of school closures for most Orange County school districts and continuing wide-spread power outages across the County, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that our region was spared the brunt of Hurricane Sandy.
Our thoughts and prayers are with those to the south of us as they cope with the utter destruction Hurricane Sandy ravaged upon them. The widespread loss in New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey goes far beyond anything ever experienced in those areas before. We pray for the safety of the first responders and emergency personnel as they continue their missions of rescue and recovery. Thank you and God bless all those that remain in harm’s way at this time.
Here in Orange County we are exceptionally grateful to our own first responders and emergency personnel who saw us through this super storm. Firefighters, law enforcement agencies, 911 operators, Emergency Operations Center staff, volunteers, and partner agencies, County employees, utility company personnel, public works staff, paramedics and ambulance crew, radio operators, Medical Reserve Corps volunteers, municipal leaders, elected officials, and so many, many others came together to ensure that public safety was preserved, communication maintained, and damaged minimized for the duration of the storm and the days following. I am extremely grateful to all who sacrificed time away from their own family and loved ones throughout the storm for the good of the people of Orange County.
With fairly widespread power outages throughout the County, many found themselves without television, radio, or internet for access to news and information. Thank goodness for the smart phone and the growth of social media. Many people found themselves turning to Facebook and Twitter for their news. And, likewise, we got many up to the moment status reports, and even photos, from people sharing on our Facebook pages. It was a great way to keep the channels of communication open, even during the worst of the storm. If you haven’t already, "like" OrangeCounty EmergencyManagement and County Executive Edward A. Diana on Facebook so you can keep track of what’s happening in Orange County – even when there’s no storm brewing. You can also follow us on Twitter at OCNYExecDiana and watch our website at www.orangecountygov.com.
We appreciate the support of the local power companies and their staff who are working around the clock to get Orange County residents back on line as quickly as possible. Your patience is appreciated as they do their best to expedite repairs. Throughout the day, we receive notification of new areas in Orange County that have had their power restored.
Finally, I want to say thank you to the people of Orange County for once again showing your resilience during difficult times. We have proven ourselves to be a community of do-ers with a commitment to doing what is right for our friends and neighbors. Like tough times gone by, we will survive this one, too, and come out of this that much stronger from the lessons learned and improvements made.
Again, thank you and God bless all those that remain in harm’s way at this time.
Until next week, I wish you good health and happiness.