July 26, 2006
Maybe he's laying the groundwork for a post-political career. Last week Jay Schneiderman took advantage of the county legislature's July hiatus and got ready for his close-up. He toured Southampton and East Hampton Towns with folks from LTV, serving as emcee for a documentary on hurricane preparedness.
Every year during hurricane season and even more frequently since Hurricane Katrina lashed the Gulf Coast last year, government emergency preparedness officials provide information about weathering a substantial storm. Since last September there have been numerous public forums and informational brochures convened and compiled. This is one of the first films designed to provide citizens with all they need to know in the event of a storm.
Mike Israelson, a member of the board of LTV and a professional filmmaker specializing in IMAX movies, is helming the effort. He, Legislator Schneiderman and community activist Laurie Wiltshire conducted interviews with subjects from involved agencies running the gamut from the local chapter of the Red Cross to the Southampton Town Animal Control Office.
Slated to begin airing in August and showing every day on LTV, the film is touted by Israelson as offering all one needs to know about how to survive a hurricane. Meteorological information, maps of predicted flood areas, information about shelters and even insurance suggestions are revealed in the documentary. Viewers will learn how to protect their houses, their boats and even their pets.
Setting out to create the film, Israelson said he was surprised to note most people are "clueless" when it comes to making sure they're personally prepared. "I wanted to make a 'hands on' video so people can be responsible for themselves," he explained. Israelson believes people can't expect the government to bear the entire burden of providing safety in the event of a disaster. Individual citizens need to know how to be self sufficient, too.
The goal is to inform, not alarm, the filmmaker emphasized. Last week some locals complained about camera crews from an upIsland news channel scouring the beaches scaring folks about the pending storm Beryl. The LTV production, Israelson said, "will give people a sense of what they can do to protect themselves in the event of a disaster."
While the film promises to steer clear of scare tactics, it will be cautionary. Said Israelson, "Out here we all think the ocean is our best friend, but it could turn and become our worst enemy."