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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    Last week we were all wondering where we were during the earthquake. Now the question of the day is, how did you make out with “Irene?”

    The wide spread storm system was pretty incredible and not something we experience very often, luckily. The major issues became downed trees and limbs, extensive flooding of basements and washed-out  roads. Residents throughout Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties experienced long and short-term interruptions in their electric service, with some storm-affected customers still without power since Sunday, August 28th.

    The three utility companies that service our area, Con Edison, NYSEG and Central Hudson have been working around the clock to restore electrical power to their customers. As of 9/1, Con Edison has restored electricity to 97% percent of their customers. NYSEG has restored power to 88% of their customers and Central Hudson has restored power to 85% of their customers. Dry ice seems to be in short supply, however, so there may be a lot of spoiled food to deal with.

    According to Con Edison’s morning update, communities in Westchester with the highest number of customers still without power due to the storm include North Castle, Cortlandt, Mount Pleasant and New Castle. Damage from Tropical Storm Irene set a new record with 187,000 customers losing power in Westchester and New York City.

    Dutchess County has been declared a disaster area as a result of Hurricane Irene making the county eligible for Public Assistance-financial aid to local governments as well as Individual Assistance-financial aid for homeowners, renters and businesses. With the Individual Assistanceprogram, residents of Dutchess County can register for aid within FEMA’s eligibility guidelines. Included in the program are grants for repairs and for rent of alternative housing, low-interest disaster loans from the USBA and grants for other serious needs. Register online at
    http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov

    Some things to consider “After Irene”:

    • If you haven’t already done so, carefully look around the outside of your home to see if anything is broken or damaged from the storm.
    • Check your homeowners policy and speak with you agent if see if you have a covered loss.  Water in basements is generally only covered by a flood insurance policy so you need to check.
    • If you have incurred water damage, remove and dry everything as quickly as possible. Clean and mop up what you can if it’s safe to do so, and open doors and window to let fresh air in.  Dehumidify or run your air conditioner to get the moisture out of your home.
    • Take photos or video of your home and contents that were damaged by the storm. It important to itemize and document your losses.
    • Be aware of any storm-related assistance made available in your area by keeping in touch with media sources, internet, newspapers etc.
    • Try to be patient. No electricity and no generator can be very hard to deal with, especially for long periods.
    • There are still wires on the ground so please assume that all downed wires are alive with electricity.
    • Check refrigerated food for spoilage if the power has been off during the storm. Check your insurance policy to see if losses are covered with deductibles waived.

    Hope you are one of the fortunate ones who survived Irene unscathed.  Not everyone was so lucky. It’s a great time to help your neighbors get through this or make a donation to one of the many charitable organizations that are providing food and shelter for those impacted by the storm.

    As Labor Day weekend passed, the American Red Cross is still hard at work helping disaster-hit communities across our region. To make a donation, visit http://www.redcross.org