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Hurricane Ian's destruction in Florida prompts drill on Long Island

Nassau County practices hurricane disaster readiness
Nassau County practices hurricane disaster readiness 02:12

BETHPAGE, N.Y. - Hurricane Ian's devastating impact prompted an emergency drill in our area Monday. 

Nassau County conducted a full scale tabletop exercise to practice disaster readiness, CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reports. 

With no advanced notice, a surprise 6 a.m. wakeup call ordered every Nassau County department head in for an all-hands-on-deck drill.

The drill was to practice plans starting five days from a hurricane - the "what ifs" and "how-tos" - if Long Island may be inundated. 

You don't have to imagine. Just 10 years ago, Sandy wreaked havoc and wasn't even a considered a landfall hurricane on Long Island. 

Officials urge the public to do their part, too. 

"When they say to evacuate, it's for good reason. Evacuate and get out," said Nassau County Fire Marshal Chief Michael Utaro. "You're putting your first responders' lives at risk, your volunteer firefighter here, your neighbors." 

"It doesn't matter if it's a Category 1 or Category 5. It's the storm surge. The water is the biggest killer in a hurricane," Acting Nassau County OEM Commissioner Richard Corbett. 

The drill was ordered by County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who said he's comforted by the response. 

"I was very nervous watching the events unfold in Florida," Blakeman said. "We are going to keep practicing because, as they say, practice makes perfect." 

As evidenced in Florida, people don't always listen to evacuation orders. Researchers at Hofstra University create virtual reality simulations to change minds. 

"We just put somebody on the first floor of a normal looking home on Long Island, and have the waters slowly but steadily rise up. So by the end of the simulation the water is up to chest level and it's quite frightening," said Dr. Jase Bernhardt of Hofstra University. 

Officials remind the public to have a "go bag" - gloves, a whistle, rain gear, blankets and an axe. 

"A vest to be seen. A flashlight," an official said. "Emergency water. You always want to have at least two gallons per person per day." 

Put it all in a good, sturdy bag that won't fall apart when you need it most. A go bag should be packed and ready for any emergency - especially during hurricane season. 

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