Emergency Command Center

Background Information



Town Board Work Session, February 26, 2008


1.  Excerpts from Town Clerk's official minutes



            Police Chief Daniel McMahon, the Fire Chiefs of the Mohegan and Yorktown Fire District s and the head of the Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Mohegan Fire District's Volunteer Ambulance Corps were present for this discussion.


            Police Chief McMahon explained that a new law will require each municipality to have a central Emergency management site. He is requesting that the Board designate the bottom of the Courthouse as the site.


            The Town Clerk explained that the voting machines are currently in this site. When the Westchester County Board of Elections takes physical possession of these machines or designates the use of new machines which the Board will house, she has no objections.


            The Board stated that they will revisit this subject if and when the law takes effect.



2.  Excerpts from Citizens for an Informed Yorktown online meeting summary


Emergency Operations Center

Police Chief Dan McMahon discussed the need for additional space to house a future Emergency Operations Center that he said FEMA would be requiring all municipalities to have in about two years.

The Emergency Management Committee includes the police department, highway department, the town's two fire departments and ambulance corps, school districts, Red Cross and representatives of Con Ed and NYSEG.

The chief wants to use the basement of the court building that is now used to store voting machines. Once the county purchases new voting machines (likely to happen in 2009 or 2010), the county will own and store and machines and the current ones will be destroyed, freeing up the space. He said this location was central and large enough to accommodate the involved parties. If the town approved the use of the space (he might only need a portion of the basement) he would apply for a grant to cover the cost of wiring the site, installing some ventilation and carpeting and getting a desk.

Councilman Bianco noted that other departments needed space and wondered if it made sense to use the basement for this purpose when it might only be used once a year.

No decision was reached.


Additional chronology of events, 2009-2011

(From personal notes of Susan Siegel)


1. November, 2009

After being elected Supervisor in November, 2009 and before taking office, I met with department heads for an update on issues of concern to their department. During the meeting with Police Chief Danial McMahon, the chief indicated that he had applied to Entergy for a grant to furnish an Emergency Command Center in the basement of the courthouse.  I expressed surprise as I knew from attending Town Board meetinigs throughout 2008 and 2009 that the Board had not discussed this issue since Februrary 2008. I asked the chief to contact Entergy and ask if the grant application could be modified for another project that had the support and approval of the Town Board.


2. December, 2009

During an informal meeting with the incoming Town Board in December 2009, I informed the two carryover councilmen and the two councilmen-elect of my discussion with the chief. They were in agreement that the application for the Emergency Command Center should not go forward.


Sometime that month, the chief advised me that Entergy said the application could not be changed. I then advised him that the incoming Town Board was not ready to consider the Command Center and that this should be communicated to Entergy.


4. 2010

Sometime after January 2010, I was informed that the Town had received a check from Entergy for the Command Center. Because neither the outgoing Town Board or the incoming Board had authorized the grant application, the Police Department was instructed to return the grant if it could not be used for any other purpose. The money was returned.


5. 2010-2011

To the best of my recollection, during weather related incidents in 2010-2011, at least one, and possibly two, meetings of the Emergency Command Center, convened by the police chief, were held in the "classroom" in the Police Department. When Con Ed sent a staff person to Yorktown to assist in the power restoration, the person was stationed in the classroom as the room had phone and internet access.


After the 2011 Hurricane Irene storm, members of the Town's emergency services and Town Board met in the Police Department to review  response issues. One of the issues that was raised was the  incompatibility of the communications equipment used by the different services and that a possible solution would be acquiring satellite phones.


During the October 2011 Halloween storm, the Police Department made no effort to activate the Emergency Command Center.


In the fall of 2011, acting on one of the post-Hurrican Irene recommendations, the Town, with the knowledge and approval of the Town Board, submitted an application to Entergy for satellite phones for use during emergencies.  The emergency services provided input for the grant application.  At no time did anyone from any emergency service suggest that the application be for a commend center.


2012: Hurricane  Sandy


Prior to and in the days following the storm, the Emergency Command Center was set up in the board room at Town Hall.


During the November 8 & 9 budget discussions, Supervisor Grace advised the Town Board that the board room was not a suitable EOC and that the Town would be setting up an EOC in the basement of the court building and Highway Superintendent DiBartolo advised the Board that his staff would begin "measuring the room."



November 21, 2012 News Release questioning the need for a separate EOC