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Get Ready, Get Set to Prepare for Emergencies

Thu, 07/07/2022 - 12:57

Whether it's a global pandemic, a pine barrens wildfire, a spate of surprise tornadoes, or a supersize hurricane, preparedness is key to surviving and coping during an emergency or natural disaster. To that end, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has announced a new Citizens Preparedness Academy, which is also focused on making sure citizens of differing abilities are getting the necessary disaster prep.

The three-week program, spearheaded by the county's Department of Fire‚ Rescue and Emergency Services, features curriculum designed by that agency, with guidance from various not-for-profit organizations and mental health professionals, "to addresses the needs of all residents," the county said in a release, "including those who have conditions related to neurodiversity, such as autism, ADHD, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder."

The program takes place over six sessions and is focused on awareness, preparedness, response, and recovery. "As we've seen with recent extreme weather events, or the rapid events leading to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Patrick Beckley, a county commissioner, "emergencies or crises can take place at any time. At the Office of Emergency Management, we feel it is our duty to provide an opportunity to educate our residents on these matters in an innovative and inclusive manner."

The academy kicks off on Tuesday, July 12. Classes will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Islip Town Firefighters Museum in Central Islip. The program runs through July 28, each session lasting for about 45 minutes.

Participants will learn basic first aid, how to build a preparedness kit (a.k.a. a "go bag"); how to prepare for an evacuation, and how to create a family emergency plan. It will feature guest speakers, including first responders and emergency prep experts.   

Each session is limited to 25 Suffolk County residents, and pre-registration is required. Registration is online at, or with the Office of Emergency Management at (631) 852-4900. Other sessions will be scheduled throughout the year. 

This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Mr. Beckley's name.

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