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Red Cross Taps Scarsdale Schools as Emergency Shelters

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Three Scarsdale schools could be used as emergency shelters in the event of a disaster under an agreement made between the Scarsdale Board of Education and the American Red Cross.

The spacious areas in Scarsdale High School, Scarsdale Middle School and Quaker Ridge School have been identified and inspected by representatives from the Westchester chapter of the Red Cross and deemed as ideal shelters in case of an emergency.

The three schools are ideal because of their locations and because equipment is already in place, Assistant Superintendent for Business Linda Purvis wrote in a letter to Superintendent Michael V. McGill.

“The Red Cross requires large spaces with good emergency preparedness and easy access to major roads. Both the high school and Quaker Ridge are close to area highways and have emergency generators in the event electrical power is unavailable,” she wrote. “The middle school provides additional large spaces.”

David Kronlein, former mayor of Scarsdale, contacted the Scarsdale Union Free School District about possibly using the schools in the event of an emergency. Purvis met with Kronlein and Mary Davis of the Red Cross, who deemed the buildings ideal.

“The Westchester chapter of the American Red Cross is charged with planning in the event of emergencies in the local area,” Purvis said. “While the focus of most of the planning is on potential catastrophes relating to Indian Point, it is conceivable that other types of emergencies could require temporary shelters for displaced families.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Scarsdale schools have been used as emergency shelters. Quaker Ridge was used during the hurricane last year by individuals who required electricity to run medical devices.

Under the agreement, the Red Cross would name a shelter manager in the event of an emergency. That person would be responsible for managing all sheltering activities, in conjunction with a district-designated facility coordinator. In case of an emergency, the Red Cross would post signs at the schools, identifying them as Red Cross-approved shelters.

The Scarsdale School District would be reimbursed for letting the county use its facilities as emergency shelters, including for all reasonable wear and tear resulting from the operations. It will also be refunded for reasonable costs for custodial and food service personnel that wouldn’t have been incurred if the Red Cross hasn't used the facility as a shelter. Finally, the Red Cross would reimburse the district for out-of-pocket operational costs – which includes all utilities.

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