NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the trauma of Superstorm Sandy, New York City urged everyone to do more to prepare for emergencies.
The city itself is taking that advice to the extreme with a multi-million dollar emergency stockpile that has to be seen to be believed, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
Officials want to make sure that if people are evacuated from their homes during an emergency, that supplies are readily available. It’s a serious responsibility handled on a seriously large scale.
“This is only a portion of it. This is only about 55 percent of our actual complete stockpile,” New York City Office of Emergency Management assistant commissioner for logistics Jonathan Jenkins told CBS2.
CBS2 was given rare access to the city’s emergency supply stockpile. There’s a mindboggling amount and variety of emergency supplies including thousands of prepackaged meals that heat up right in the bag. Options even include kosher, halal and gluten-free.
The city stockpiles toothpaste, soap, and shampoo; diabetes strips, duct tape, and diapers. The Office of Emergency Management stockpile was created after the chaotic response in New Orleans to Hurricane Katrina. The supplies are hidden away in a central New Jersey industrial park.
CBS2’s Aiello described the 50,000-square-foot warehouse as kind of having the feel of a Costco or a Sam’s Club store — or maybe that section of Ikea where customers go to pick up the boxes with unassembled furniture.
The massive stash has enough supplies for emergency shelters to care for 70,000 people for seven days. All of it is meticulously organized and bar-coded.
“There are over-the-counter medications, there’s Pedialyte, there’s baby formula, dog food. Pets are New Yorkers too, and so we have supplies for dogs, cats. We even have stuff for birds and rodents,” Jenkins said.
The unit even has snake bags, because people evacuate to shelters with all kinds of companions.
“We have stuff for kids, stuff for pets, and kind of everything else in between,” he said.
The stockpile is carefully crafted and constantly updated. It has multilingual plans for how to distribute supplies to people.
From flip-flops to face masks, New York appears to be well-prepared in case tragedy or disaster strikes.
A few weeks ago, the future of the stockpile was at risk because of a proposed cut in the federal grant that pays for it. But a few days ago, New York lawmakers announced the money had been restored.