2006-08-10 / From The Mayor...

From The Mayor's Desk ...

City Pulls Together Through Recent Heat Emergency

Last week's brutal heat wave not only created universal misery; even worse, it also took the lives of some New Yorkers. There were also sporadic losses of electrical service all over town. But outstanding teamwork, both by our city agencies, and also by New Yorkers who showed consideration and practiced conservation, averted what could easily have been an even greater loss of life, and more widespread power outages.

So this morning, even as we mourn those we lost during the heat wave, I also want to salute everyone who pulled together to help us pull through those grueling days. At the top of my list are the city's first responders: The Office of Emergency Management, which coordinated our heat emergency operations, our EMS workers who answered near-record numbers of calls for help, the firefighters who rescued people trapped in stalled elevators, and the police officers who lit up and secured blocks hit by isolated power shortages. And let me also include the utility company workers who put in long, hot hours, often in stifling underground tunnels, restoring power when and where it went out.

Then there are all those who helped New Yorkers stay as cool and comfortable as possible, like the Parks Department employees who kept city pools open for extended hours, the hundreds of community and senior citizen centers that operated as cooling centers for 10 or more hours a day, the mayor's Community Assistance Unit workers who went door-to-door on blocks hit by power outages, and the staffs of our social services agencies and public housing developments who looked in on, and looked after, the aged, disabled, and shut-in New Yorkers who were most vulnerable to last week's deadly heat.

Hundreds of businesses, schools, hos-pitals, and cultural institutions across the city did their part by voluntarily cutting back on electrical power use. And everyday New Yorkers also showed the right stuff. We looked out for our neighbors; we took precautions to protect ourselves from heat exhaustion; and most importantly, we conserved electricity in our homes, stores, and offices, relieving a power grid that was carrying record-setting loads-especially as the heat wave crested on Thursday afternoon.

Conserving power will always be key during heat emergencies; just as important is Con Ed's ability to deliver power, and also to fix problems fast when they occur. Last week, the city got Con Ed's preliminary report on the July blackout in Northwest Queens. That's just one step in a process that also includes a State Public Service Commission investigation of the blackout-a probe we're taking an active part in. Make no mistake about it, we're going to hold Con Ed accountable for improving their reliability and response capabilities.

Please say a prayer in memory of those we lost last week, and also for their grieving loved ones. And let's also remember to give thanks for all those who did so much last week-not just the ones I've already mentioned, but also the Sanitation workers who picked up 13,000 tons of refuse every day, the teachers who kept summer school classes open, and everyone else who worked so hard to keep the city we love moving forward under punishing conditions.

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