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Harrison Braces for Hurricane Irene

HARRISON, N.Y. - The anticipation of the weekend's Hurricane Irene has local officials and residents hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.

"The Incident Action Plan is being developed, but Harrison is well prepared for this," Harrison Emergency Medical Services Chief Joe Billoto said.

Billoto said his staff held meetings Thursday to get on the same page and will talk again before the storm to continue planning.

Hurricane Irene was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane Wednesday, calling for a storm surge of nine to 12 feet and sustained winds of 111 to 130 mph. It is scheduled to make landfall this weekend.

"EMS, fire, police and the Department of Public Works all have a committed plan in place and we are ready to go," Billoto said. "We have extra staffing in for a 12-hour period and will be relocating one ambulance downtown and one ambulance in Purchase at the firehouses and two here at our headquarters."

The Westchester County Technical Rescue Team will be on standby all weekend in the event that they need to make emergency rescues.

The storm had Purchase College on Thursday cancel its Monday start for all classes and activities .

The hurricane also had Westchester County Airport cancel all flights inbound and outbound after 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Mayor Joan Walsh said in a statement that residents should leave a phone number and email address on the town's website for emergency contact.

"At the last town board meeting, we approved a contract with a company which can instantly transmit messages to you by house, phone, cell phones, or emails," Walsh said. "But this system will only be as good as the information we have."

Only five hurricanes have passed within 75 miles of New York City since 1851 — Hurricane Gloria was the most recent in 1985, according to Weather.com.

Harrison Resident Joe Al said on The Daily Harrison Facebook page that he was going to weather the storm.

"One day at a time," Al said. "[I will] deal with whatever comes when it comes."

How are you preparing for the hurricane? Share your tips on Facebook and Twitter .

E-mail town reporter Phil Corso at PCorso@TheDailyHarrison.com .

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