Stayin' Alive: How To Survive A Halloweenopocalypse

So instead of costumes, fresh hot cider, and sweet treats, Mother Nature decided to throw a rather large trick for all of us here on the Eastern Seaboard. Instead of donning our costumes, we find ourselves suiting up in emergency gear or uniforms for another potentially long haul.

As of 12 noon today, the Town of Shandaken has declared a State of Emergency for the entire municipality in anticipation of the effects of Hurricane Sandy. The potential for high winds with gusts to 70 mph, rain with fluctuating amounts ranging from 3 to 10 inches depending on the track of the storm, and already saturated ground from the rain event two weeks prior create a potential nightmare -- worse than the one on Elm Street -- for Monday into Tuesday.

Preparation is key for those residing in our area, particularly to those in low-lying areas or northeast-facing slopes. If you were affected by water before, you will more than likely be affected again. If you were marooned during Irene and Lee, you will more than likely be marooned again. If that kind of thing is your bag, more power to you, but prepare to be self-sufficient for a long haul, as it could take time for responders to reach your area.

It is of paramount concern that those in flood-prone areas make alternative arrangements and move out of the danger areas to higher ground. Particular attention should be given if you are located in a hollow, or are located beyond a small or private bridge. Be sure to locate your vehicles away from areas that could be cut off from your own access, make sure they have fuel, and be cognizant of where they are parked as not to impede access by emergency personnel.

Know where your local firehouse is and know the contact information, as these are the first-line points for evacuees and will be staffed during the storm. If the need arises, we will have the availability of larger evacuation centers and transportation to them, but report to your nearest firehouse first.

Local Firehouses in the Town of Shandaken-

Phoenicia/ M.F. Whitney Hose Company – 58 Rt. 214 Phoenicia, NY 12464- Phone: (845) 688-7315

Shandaken/Allaben Hose Company – 7390 Rt. 28, Shandaken NY 12480 – Phone: (845) 688-7009

Mount Tremper, Onteora Hose Company – 24 Ingersol Rd. Mt. Tremper, NY 12457 – Phone:(845) 688-7158

Big Indian – Oliverea Hose Company – 8 Firehouse Road, Big Indian NY 12410 Phone:(845) 254-9962

Pine Hill Fire District – 265 Main St. Pine Hill, NY 12465 Phone: (845) 254-5244

For municipalities outside of the Town of Shandaken, please follow specific direction by local officials.

As I've said before, if you need maintenance medications, get to your local pharmacy ASAP. Be sure to have blankets, water, and food available and take some with you if you leave your home. Fill your bathtub for water supply just in case. If you have a cellphone, charge it, and have a car charger handy in case you cannot get back to your home for an extended time period.

If you do plan on vacating your residence prior to the event and are in a high risk area, please leave a note on your front door stating that you have relocated and how to contact you in an emergency. This is so emergency responders checking door to door can account accurately for residents.

Please exercise situational awareness – be cognizant of the weather and realize that conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Preparedness is key, and over-preparation is better -- it could mean your life! Stay tuned for further developments and as always, stay safe out there!

Rich Muellerleile is the captain of the Shandaken Ambulance Service. He posts regular Catskills safety tips in his column, Stayin' Alive.