2001-06-23 / Front Page

Rockaway Weather Alert Unit

Rockaway Weather Alert Unit

Preps for Peninsula’s Evacuation

By Howard Schwach

Perched high above Seagirt Boulevard on Beach 19 Street sits a command center that at first glance seems to be more conducive to Mission Control in Houston than to a Rockaway Senior Citizen’s building.

The control center’s volunteers busy themselves with watching dim screens and monitoring computers that are tracking weather fronts moving towards the Rockaway peninsula.

The volunteers are part of the Rockaway Emergency Costal Weather Alert (RECWA) and they are getting ready to show Rockaway residents just what they can do.

The organization will hold its first annual field exercise on June 23 and June 24, beginning on Saturday night with the rapid construction of a emergency command center at the heliport located in O’Donohue Park.

"We are going to make sure that we have the ability to utilize all of our equipment and training should a real storm hit," one of the organization’s drill coordinators says. "We will be doing a live storm simulation, working with ham radio operators all around the world."

As with other emergency responders, the members of RECWA hope that the big storm that would cause an evacuation of Rockaway will never happen, but they want to be prepared should it come to the peninsula.

"Rockaway will be hard to evacuate once the storm hits," the organization says. "We hope to provide enough advance warning so that everybody can get away safely before the storm hits."

The group also plans to assist in evacuating senior citizens and the handicapped, who would normally have a hard time during a full-scale evacuation of the peninsula.

The twelve members of the organization, who are all certified radio operators as well as weather-watchers, purchase all of the equipment with their own money, although they are seeking funding through a number of business sources.

They work closely with the National Weather Service and with the city’s Office of Emergency Management. They work with other county emergency management departments as well.

Return to top

Email Us
Contact Us

Copyright 1999 - 2016 Wave Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved

Neighborhoods | History



Check Out News Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Riding the Wave with Mark Healey on BlogTalkRadio