FARMINGDALE - With Hurricane Irene barreling toward the East Coast, Long Islanders are taking advantage of the calm before the storm to make last-minute preparations.

Residents are advised to stock up on emergency supplies such as flashlights and batteries, as well as a three-day supply of non-perishable food and bottled water. Those who have cars are urged to fill up the tank.

Experts strongly urge residents to put together a "go" bag that would include first aid supplies, medications and a blanket. Homeowners are also encouraged to get a generator, board up their windows and secure outdoor furniture ahead of the storm.

Pet owners should put together a similar kit for their four-legged friends and have it at the ready. Kathy Ferraro, of the Southampton Animal Shelter, recommends packing a week's worth of pet food, any needed medications and medical records.

Several local hardware and grocery stores say they plan to stay open for as long as possible on Sunday.

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