In response to concerns about the safety of Rikers Island during Hurricane Irene, city officials said Saturday that the prison facility is safe from the storm.
City officials say the island is not in Zone A, the area designated most vulnerable to flooding, so there's no reason to move the prisoners and guards to a different location. They add that all power sources have been inspected and all outdoor furniture has been secured.
The president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, Norman Seabrook, said he is concerned about union members, but believes they will make the best of the situation.
"If the water exceeds the level that I am already anticipating that it will, we're going to have a problem," he said. "We're going to deal with the problem, but it's just unfortunate that there's only one way on this island and one way off this island. So the men and women that have braved this weather to come to work will be here perhaps up to 24 hours straight. They probably will not be going home because this is an essential service for the city of New York. We must keep the city safe and we do that."
Mayor Bloomberg was asked about the decision not to close Rikers at a news conference Saturday night. He said the island is higher than the Zone A areas that were evacuated and is "perfectly safe."