Hospitals in Hurricane Irene's Path Enact Safety Plans

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As the fire departments and emergency medical services go into "transport mode" for the next 24 hours, 911 calls in the New York area may not receive as quick of a response as they normally would, Lucchesi said.

For patients on dialysis, SUNY Downstate will extend Friday evening hours "so patients can get dialyzed who would normally come in Saturday," said Lucchesi.

Hospitals cannot be too prepared for disasters, said Lucchesi. After much criticism of the emergency response when Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf region in 2005, medical facilities and federal and state government agencies are not leaving anything to chance this time.

"We have to worry about the panic that goes across the population, but a little bit of preparation beforehand, like getting enough water, flashlights, gas in the car, can go a long way," said Lucchesi.

Carrie Gann contributed to this report.

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