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Sleepy Hollow Learns Lessons From Hurricane Irene

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Village officials were satisfied with how Sleepy Hollow dealt with Tropical Storm Irene, although they said there are still some things that could be improved.

“I'm very pleased with the way the staff of the village came through” during the storm, Mayor Ken Wray said, adding that there was very little damage to property and no lives lost because people took it very seriously and prepared.

Fire Chief John Korzelius and Police Chief Gregory Camp also praised the actions of village employees during the storm. They expressed concern with some residents not heeding safety warnings.

Korzelius pointed out that several people came to gawk at the flooding in Horan's Landing after the rain had stopped. What they didn't realize, he said, is that it was a dangerous situation as the water was climbing more than six feet to get into the park. Officials had to blast over the public address system for residents to stay away from the water.

Korzelius mentioned the rafting accident in Croton Sunday, pointing to the dangers that are posed after a storm like Irene. He urged residents to heed safety warnings.

“When we tell you to stay out of the waterway, there's a reason,” Korzelius said.

Camp also cautioned residents to listen to safety warnings. Not only will they put themselves in danger, he said, but they're “putting the rescuers in danger” too.

“When you get in a situation, think about other people and not yourself,” he said. “Most people know that and heeded our warnings.”

Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio said the village “did see things we could improve,” such as communication and the choice of emergency shelter. Giaccio said the James Galgano Senior Center would be a much better emergency shelter, but it doesn't have a generator like Village Hall does. Giaccio said the village would be looking at how it could improve things.

Public Works General Foreman Richard Gross praised village employees for their work. He also noted that the village's preparation ahead of the storm gave them enough time to prepare and get their equipment ready.

Gross said the village saw eight large trees fall and many trees “have damage we haven't even seen.” Despite all that, Gross said, things turned out well.

We really lucked out," he said.

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