Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hurricane Preparedness

June 1st marks the beginning of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season.  As we were reminded last August, by Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irene, hurricanes can cause serious damage not just to the southern parts of the United States but in our area as well.  Now is a good time to make proper preparations so that you and your loved ones are ready in the event of a hurricane this season.

An average of five hurricanes land on the U.S. coastline every three years. In spite of this hazard, statistics suggest the coastal population of the United States will double between 1995 and 2010. Great Neck is on and island on the Atlantic Coast of the United States.

Hurricanes are huge tropical storms that move in a counterclockwise spiral. They form in the eastern Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, or the southern Atlantic Ocean. The storm’s calm center, called an eye, is usually about 20 to 30 miles wide. The storm around the eye can extend outward 400 miles with winds in excess of 74 mph. It's important to know what to do before, during, and after a hurricane:

Have a hurricane disaster plan: Locate local shelters. Map the route to a nearby shelter; this will reduce travel time. Make sure you know how to get there before an evacuation order is issued.
If you are not ordered to evacuate, find shelter in your home. The safest place during a hurricane is an interior room without windows. Get your home and yard ready for a hurricane. Install hurricane shutters; remove dead and diseased trees and branches; identify items in the yard that should be brought inside; clean rain gutters, outside stairwells, window wells, drain lines, and downspouts.
  • Family members can become separated during a hurricane. Be prepared by creating a plan for how to reach one another. Establish an out-of-area contact (such as a relative or family friend) who can coordinate family members' locations and information should you become separated. Make sure children learn the phone numbers and addresses, and know the emergency plans.
  • Prepare a “family disaster supplies kit”. Families with children should have each child create their own personal pack.
If a hurricane watch has been issued for your area, conditions are favorable for and could produce a hurricane. Listen to the news and the weather updates and make sure you leave if an official evacuation is ordered. Cover your windows with hurricane shutters or plywood. Taping windows offers little or no protection against the winds. If a hurricane warning has been issued, a violent storm, possibly a hurricane, is expected within 24 hours.
  • Remain inside, away from windows and doors.
  • During power outages avoid carrying a lit candle. Use flashlights instead. Don't use a lit candle when searching for items in a confined space. Never use a candle for a light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the fumes.
  • Do not be fooled by the calm when the eye of the hurricane is above your area; the worst of the storm is probably yet to come.
  • Be prepared for tornadoes caused by hurricanes; remain inside and at the center of your home or in a closet or basement.
If you are evacuated, take your “family disaster supplies kit” and leave immediately to a nearby shelter.

Continue to listen to the news and weather updates. Often when the storm is over, damage still exists from floods, downed power lines, and electrically charged water. Stay out of buildings that have been damaged or flooded and obey detour and warning signs when driving. Never enter a flooded or barricaded roadway (even with a large vehicle) vehicles can be swept away by only two feet of water.

With a little extra care, together we can that we are prepared for most natural disasters.  For more information about the Vigilant Fire Company visit or like us on or follow us on Some of this information is provided courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association the National Disaster Education Coalition and the National Weather Service. Remember, in Great Neck, if you have a fire or medical emergency, you must call your local fire department directly to ensure the fastest response possible.

  • Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company for fire and medical emergencies anywhere north of the Great Neck Railroad Station dial (516) 482-5000.
  • Great Neck Alert Fire Company for emergencies in the Villages of Great Neck, Kings Point and Saddle Rock dial (516) 487-7000.
  • Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department for fire and medical emergencies south of the LIRR in Great Neck dial (516) 466-4411.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thirty Minutes to Save A Life

Long Island, May 10, 2012 – On May 10, the American Heart Association and members of the Great Neck Vigilant Engine & Hook & Ladder Company kicked off their endeavor to train more than 5,000 students in eight of Great Neck’s public schools.  

From left to right: Vigilant Fire Company Members and Officers: Josh Kerben, Joshua Feintuch,
Michael Diehl, Nina Noy, EMS Sergeant Steven Blocker, EMS Corporal Joe Oginski, Rachel Namdar,
Drew Dumaine, Doris Groene, Joshua Rakhman and Frank Groene.
“Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is one of the most fundamental and essential skills that one can know. CPR is only rendered effective when it is initiated within six minutes of the onset of cardiac arrest” said George Murphy,EMT-P, I/C – American Heart Association.

According to the American Heart Association, survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest occurring outside the hospital are alarmingly low, with only 11% surviving with fewer than 1 in 3 of those victims receiving CPR from a bystander. This results in 383,000 victims of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year in the U.S. In order to provide patients with the highest chance of survival, Vigilant decided to institute an aggressive multi-phased plan to provide early CPR to the residents of the Great Neck community.

The American Heart Association’s 2010 revised CPR guidelines make it easier for more people to perform CPR. The greater emphasis is now placed on the simplest step – chest compressions, or “hands-only CPR.
On a Thursday morning, the kickoff for the “hand-only CPR” program began with students and administration from Great Neck South Middle School. They gathered in the gymnasium to hear about the program and begin their CPR training during the American Heart Association’s “Family & Friends CPR Anytime” class.
Students with their new Course Completion Certificates! 

“The overall goal is to educate faculty and students in grades three through twelve with CPR training,” said Steven Blocker, Sergeant - Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company. “We want to properly educate over 5,000 students, faculty and staff of the Great Neck Public Schools using the American Heart Association’s “Family & Friends CPR Anytime” program,” said Blocker.

“Training students in CPR, even in this more simple version, means that students become eligible for one of the most exclusive clubs in the world — the “I Saved a Life Club.” I am excited about making Great Neck students eligible. I thank Dave Zawatson, district athletic director, and the Great Neck Vigilant Engine & Hook & Ladder Company for developing this training opportunity. What a great community partnership!” said Dr. Thomas Dolan Superintendent, Great Neck Public Schools.

After the training in the schools is complete, the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company will begin to provide CPR training to the community monthly at the fire house. In addition, any individual will be able to sign up and attend the American Heart Association’s Heartsaver AED (automated external defibrillator) training.  
For more information about the Vigilant CPR initiative visit or email
Written by Jessica DiMeo, American Heart Association