MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – U.S. Sens. Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, along with Rep. Nita Lowey, are calling on FEMA to expedite Northern Westchester Hospital’s application for federal funding to undertake critical infrastructure improvements that will help the hospital withstand future storms.
The funds, which would be awarded as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, would enable the hospital to strengthen its power grid. During Superstorm Sandy, the hospital lost power for 70 hours because it had an outdated power system that relies on one switch to keep the electricity running, which is a violation of safety codes. The hospital was able to secure a generator on day three of the outage, providing necessary power until full restoration.
If the hospital’s electrical infrastructure fails again, it could leave local residents without emergency care. If awarded federal funding, the hospital would completely modernize its system, creating three separate power branches that would help it withstand the impact of future storms. The cost for the project is about $7.2 million. If approved, FEMA will cover $5.4 million of the cost.
“Thousands of residents rely on Northern Westchester Hospital, and we must use the lessons of Superstorm Sandy to ensure it is better prepared to handle the next storm. It is scary to think that one switch stands between this hospital being able to provide emergency care, which is why FEMA should approve their application for funding right away so that we can eliminate the nightmare scenario of leaving over 350,000 residents without any emergency care,” said Schumer.
“The outage at Northern Westchester Hospital during Superstorm Sandy was a wakeup call,” said Gillibrand. “FEMA should immediately approve the hospital’s application for funding so the thousands of New Yorkers who rely on the hospital can have the peace of mind knowing that it will be ready for an emergency and can withstand the next storm.”
Northern Westchester Hospital is a 233-bed facility in a community setting with a staff of 600 physicians, which serves about 350,000 people in the region on an emergency, inpatient and outpatient basis.
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