Top town question: Do we or don’t we evacuate?

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | High water at Founders Landing in Southold during Hurricane Irene.

To evacuate or not evacuate? That is the question.

As they consider the most prudent response to the threats of high winds and flooding anticipated with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, town officials must first decide whether to require the evacuation of some areas, particularly low-lying regions, and then open shelters for the displaced.

Those decisions will be made during the next meeting of the town’s emergency management team this afternoon at 1 p.m., said Supervisor Scott Russell.

“We have everything covered,” the supervisor said. “Now we have to consider what we’re going to be dealing with.”

He said he’s been advised by LIPA that crews will be strategically placed to provide quick responses to any power outtages and those who in the past operated town shelters are on ready alert.

As a general rule the town’s position is that the safest place for residents to be during a major storm is in their own homes and in that regard evacuations are considered a measure of last resort.

“Obviously if we perceive the need to evacuate, well get that order out,” said Mr. Russell. In most cases, he added, “that’s an unlikely event.”

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