New York, NY – A newly passed city council measure may help prevent future tragedies when blackouts strike by alerting local power providers to households where senior citizens rely on electrically-powered lifesaving equipment.
Introduced in May by Councilman Chaim Deutsch and passed by council vote on December 19th, Int. 1185-2016b requires the city’s Department For The Aging to regularly remind seniors who use life-sustaining machinery of the importance of registering their home addresses with their utility company.
In the event of a power failure, emergency service providers would be sent to those addresses to ascertain if anyone is need of assistance.
“Many people are affected when the power goes out and someone on lifesaving equipment may not have access to a working phone in order to contact emergency services,” Deutsch told VIN News.
Deutsch, whose district encompasses several waterfront areas, said that his constituents have endured multiple power outages in recent years.
“The first thing I do is to call the Office of Emergency Management to get an update and they always ask me right away if there are people affected who are on lifesaving equipment,” said Deutsch.
Deutsch encouraged all city residents who have a family member who depends on lifesaving equipment to call their providers and alert them now, before the next power outage.
The bill will take effect in 30 days and will require widespread education and outreach to senior centers and in areas that boast a large senior population. The information will also be posted on the DFTA’s website.
“The best preventive measure is education,” said Deutsch. “We have to take proactive measure to prevent these types of tragedies from happening.”