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Paving the Way for Winter at Hamaspik

Paving the Way for Winter at Hamaspik

Nov. 2, '14
By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

It isn’t quite winter yet.

But if early reports are correct, as some have been claiming, this coming cold season’s going to be a doozy—like last year, or even worse.

That means there’ll be plenty of shoveling to do, coupled with de-icing driveways, walkways and staircases, and keeping roof-edge gutters free of dangerously pointy icicles.

And that’s just the house—or at least the exterior thereof.  (Keep the interior warm is another challenge, one power-based.  Enter generators.  But we digress.)

If you can keep your property snow- and slipping-free, then you’ve got to dig your car out and hit the road—if, on a wintry blizzard day, you even can.  Last year’s remarkable snowfalls had more than a few vehicles having trouble on the highways and byways of New York.  (Get those snow chains!)

At Hamaspik, however, the agency’s cadre of Home Managers and their teams of Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are already well underway gearing up for come what may this November and beyond.

With the help of Hamaspik’s three Maintenance Managers—one for each county-based branch—snow shovels are being inspected for weather worthiness and replaced as necessary.  Each Individualized Residential Alternative (IRA) is also being provided with a 50-lb bag or two of rock salt, allowing staff to clear walkways of the dangerously slippery and often transparent ice that tends to form overnight.  Ice picks are likewise being provided as necessary.

For driveway accessibility, each IRA also is now contracted with a local snow removal service, snowplow and all, whose crew will clear each resident’s front driveways and immediately surrounding areas, allowing Hamaspik’s Transport Vans, staff cars and other vehicles easy and convenient access to and from the premises.

More important than that is Hamaspik’s commitment to resident safety. 

In the event of blackouts, all too common in recent years, select Hamaspik group homes now boast their own stand-alone power generators, allowing them to remain warm and well-lit regardless of surrounding conditions. 

What’s more, Hamaspik in each region has had an evacuation plan in place for several years now, calling for the temporary relocation of residents whose IRAs lose power to those with generators—a backup plan that is largely redundant anyhow, what with all but one Hamaspik home in both Orange and Rockland Counties generator-equipped.  (The sturdier homes in brownstone Brooklyn, with its underground power lines, are far less likely to lose power in the event of inclement weather.)

On top of all that, and most important of all, Managers have been browsing each individual resident’s winter wardrobe, ensuring that he or she have the warm and weather-proof boots, coats, gloves, scarves and headgear—and cozy winter clothing—to endure the frosty outdoors none the worse for wear.

Anything lacking wardrobe-wise is being bought.

Come winter, then, the season may bring huge drifts of snow, impassable roads and school cancellations lasting days on end.  But at Hamaspik, residential beneficiaries are ready for a safe, warm and well-stocked winter.