Are You Ready for an Emergency?

By Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato

If you’re like me, you may not totally know where your flashlights are - and when you do find them, they probably won’t have any batteries in them, or at least working ones. While it may appear as a small thing, so many of us remember how critical flashlights were in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. According to the Office of Emergency Management we are in the “greatest potential” for hurricanes from August till October and we know it isn’t a matter of “will we” have another emergency, but rather “when will we” have another emergency.

I want to work together to make sure we are prepared and able to pull through any emergency we face. In the last few years our attention has been diverted in different directions so it is now time to dust off our emergency preparedness skills - so let’s do it together. The first step is having flashlights with new and working batteries (and a few extra). If I remember one thing from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it was how dark my stairwell and hallways got without lights. For those that live in buildings, we know that the emergency lights don’t last more than a few hours. I remember how long it took to get our electricity back on – and we should never face that delay again. In a way to try and combat this for the future, I was recently appointed to the new LIPA (and PSEG) Commission which will work to establish new policies to ensure our energy provider is better prepared for storm recovery. While we work to correct this and have better storm recovery, we can ensure we have light by being prepared with working flashlights.

Another great tip for preparedness is going back to “old school” and having written lists of phone numbers and personal medication details. The reason: today all generations truly rely on cell phones; and when it runs out of power all of your information becomes inaccessible until you are able to recharge your phone. That leads me to another tip (thanks Roger!), everyone should get a solar charger. This is a small tool that can serve as an effective way to ensure you are able to recharge your phone or computer, communicate with your loved ones, and even access information when electricity is unavailable.

Here are a few other preparedness recommendations. Have:

  • A first aid kit
  • Cash put aside (small bills)
  • Copies of all your legal documents
  • Battery operated radio
  • Spare clothes
  • Nonperishable food and bottled water
  • Lighters or matches

#TeamStacey has created a full check list of recommendations and other safety tips you may be interested in. I keep mine on my front door so in an emergency I know exactly where it is. If you’d like a checklist, please reach out to my office and we will send you one in the mail.

The reason for this list and conversation is because of what we experienced a decade ago. I can’t believe we are approaching the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. In order to acknowledge this life changing event, I introduced and passed an Assembly Resolution to commemorate the 10th year anniversary. Through this act, the memory of those we lost and what our community faced, along with our resiliency and ability to build back in the aftermath, has been solidified into our history and will serve as a way to pay tribute to everything we have gone through.

As I go forward, I will continue to keep you all apprised of the developments and work being done. If you are interested in getting an emergency check off list, please reach out to my office and we are happy to send you one. As always, do not hesitate to contact my office by phone at 718-945-9550 or by email at It is a pleasure to serve you and I look forward to representing you for many more years to come (and remember to stop by one of our remaining 13 Mobile Office Hours over the next few weeks).