FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2020
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NYCHA MAKES NECESSARY PREPARATIONS AHEAD OF WINTER STORM GAIL
Mobilization of multiple NYCHA departments and resources will facilitate faster and more robust emergency response ahead of significant snowfall and high wind gusts
NEW YORK – The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) will activate its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Thursday morning at 6 AM to manage the response and snow removal efforts associated with Winter Storm Gail – which is expected to bring significant snowfall, heavy wind gusts, and coastal flooding conditions to the New York City region starting on Wednesday afternoon and continuing throughout the night.
Coordinated by the Authority’s Office of Emergency Management, the centralized Emergency Operations Center will be operational through 6 PM Thursday, with NYCHA departments that include Emergency Services; Elevator Services and Repairs; Heating Management Services; Maintenance, Repair & Skilled Trades; Operations; Capital Projects; Community Engagement & Partnerships; Communications; and Intergovernmental Relations. The combined presence of these various departments will enable NYCHA to quickly respond to service interruptions and public safety hazards and communicate information to NYCHA residents throughout the city.
“The brunt of this storm’s impact will occur by the evening and overnight hours, which presents a unique challenge to the response effort,” said NYCHA General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo. “By activating the Emergency Operations Center early tomorrow morning and prepping our equipment, staff, and partner vendors well in advance, we can minimize the disruption Winter Storm Gail might cause to our residents.”
The New York City Emergency Management Department issued a hazardous travel advisory for Wednesday, December 16 through Thursday, December 17, as Winter Storm Gail is expected to bring light snow starting on Wednesday afternoon that will intensify through the night. Overall, the storm has the potential for near blizzard conditions and wind chill temperatures in the teens, icy conditions, sustained wind gusts that could reach 45 MPH, and minor to moderate coastal flooding.
NYCHA has taken a range of measures to prepare for Winter Storm Gail’s arrival. They include mobilizing snow removal equipment and bringing in additional staff, as needed; alerting area tree vendors; and assembling additional roving teams of heating technicians, with plumbers and electricians at the ready as well. Additionally, mobile generators have been prepared for deployment, construction sheds are being secured, and additional vendors have been put on alert should their response be needed.
With the Authority’s Heating Dashboard and data from heat sensors in the Computerized Heating Automation System being actively monitored by NYCHA’s Heat Desk, the EOC will allow NYCHA to respond to heating service and power interruptions – as well as other safety hazards such as downed trees and power lines, flooded areas, and exposed roofs and ceilings.
Staff from NYCHA’s Heat Desk and Skilled Trades departments will be in contact with front-line development staff throughout the day and will provide reports to Heating, Operations, and Executive staff every two hours.
NYCHA’s Office of Emergency Management also coordinates with the New York City Emergency Management Department to identify additional external resources, if needed, during any unscheduled service interruptions. Per standard protocol, the New York City Emergency Management Department is activating the city’s Winter Weather Emergency Plan and its own Emergency Operations Center.
This week marks the first activation of NYCHA's virtual Emergency Operations Center during the 2020-2021 heating season.
This year, it has taken an average of 9 hours to restore heat and hot water services compared to 10 hours last heating season. NYCHA has invested more than $45 million to upgrade heat and hot water equipment as well as related heating system parts since the start of 2020 and has hired 70 new heating plant technicians and 12 plumbing teams over the past year to provide 24/7 coverage, including evening and overnight roving teams.
The activation of the Emergency Operations Center aligns with the Authority's efforts to work closely with the de Blasio administration when responding to inclement weather events.
Below are some winter storm safety tips:
Residents can report service interruptions using the MyNYCHA app or by calling NYCHA’s Customer Contact Center at 718-707-7771.