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Andrew Alden

Victims of Sandy: What Should We Learn?

By November 2, 2012

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When Hurricane Sandy tore its way through the eastern seaboard earlier this week, I was safely at home in California. But I know that similar disasters await me here—as they do all over the world. Therefore all of us have an interest in what lessons we can learn from Sandy. What happened that you didn't foresee? What things worked best in coping? What will you do differently? What advice do you have for the rest of us? I look forward to your stories and tips in the comments.

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Comments

November 2, 2012 at 8:59 am
(1) msRockhound says:

Relief crews from Alabama who were specifically called to New Jersey found themselves diverted to Long Island, NY after they arrived because they use non-union labor.
so much for getting gov’t red tape out of the way

November 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm
(2) AgTerrane says:

I’ve been closely watching disasters over many years. I think the ultimate lesson is that one should be prepared for a week on one’s own. The disaster agencies and government say 48 hours, but I think that’s optimistic.

So, in a city, prepare for a week. If one is in a less high-impact area, I expect that 2 weeks might be reasonable.

It’s all a matter of logistics. The responders may not be able to reach one within 48 hours. I know I’ve upped my expected survival time to 2 weeks, because I live in a less populated area.

November 4, 2012 at 2:13 am
(3) fangio28 says:

As one who survived a devastating hit from a tornado in suburban Atlanta in 1998: if at all possible find your homeowners insurance policy,
study it, then stand your ground with insurance adjusters. If you’re not satisfied with what’s offered, ask to go higher in their chain of command until you get what is rightfully yours in an insurance settlement. If need be, enlist the help of the State Insurance Commissioner (we did).
After much wrangling we finally got our insurance company to pay for a
new home (the house WAS condemned by the county).
Sign up with FEMA, SBA, and any other available aid agencies.
Attend neighborhood meetings if possible. Above all, don’t let your insurance company steamroller you….we saw it happen to many others.
Oh, and only work with contractors that are LICENSED in your town or county. Beware of post-event scammers.
Been there.

November 5, 2012 at 7:43 am
(4) Bob says:

The Jersey Shore is gone from what my family in the area has said. That is not surprising as to the unnatural condition of most of the beaches. The Governor of the NJ said Avalon was the least effected. That is not surprising as this city has the most natural and undisturbed beached in its area.

November 5, 2012 at 9:00 am
(5) geotype says:

There is an 11 points for preparedness plan on a website called Flylady.com that I have found helpful to follow. Check it out. Briefly it covers being prepared to evacuate: People and pets (a place to meet if separated, leashes, carriers and food for pets), bring your purses (wallets), prescriptions, important papers, petrol (keep your car gassed up), have proper clothing and comfort items ready, bring your planner (with important addresses phone numbers etc.), phones and radios (batteries charged), and patience. Knowing where all this stuff is in your home and having a list to follow if disaster is occurring or imminent, allows you to safeguard the things that are most important and get out safely. http://www.amoa.com/disaster/home_readiness_flylady_preparedness.shtml

November 5, 2012 at 10:45 am
(6) Bob Kitchen says:

We have short memories. We have to learn to build away from the edge of the sea. Either not issuing insurance to those within a certain zone or charging a higher price for this insurance may be what is needed. Certainly our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost so much.

November 5, 2012 at 11:43 am
(7) Barb says:

I read the posts so far. Follow what ‘geotype’ and ‘AgTerrane’ say. Know where your important papers are, take clothes and food, electronics, pet items, anything you will possibly need for the “long-term”. The people in Long Island didn’t think there would have been a wild fire that took everything they had. They just thought it would have been for a few days, not months to rebuild everything.
AND DO NOT REBUILD IN THOSE AREAS. The ocean is going to keep rising. Haven’t we seen the damage over the years in Bangladesh, India, and other areas. Just because it happened there, doesn’t mean it won’t happen here – IT JUST DID.

November 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm
(8) New Yorker says:

I was pretty well prepared for th loss of power from this hurricane, but not totally prepared, and thankfully my home was not destroyed (that is a completely different situation than what I prep for).

Have plenty of flashlights (especially hands free headlamps),
plenty of batteries for them,
a battery operated radio (and a crank one, too) for “company”, also with plenty of batteries,
alternate heating & cooking sources other than electrical ones (such as gas stove burners you can light with a match),
one gallon srew-lid plastic bottles to put hot water in to keep you warm at night (they work AMAZINGLY well),
matches,
THICK candles,
lots of water so you can still drink, wash, cook, boil for heat and flush the toilet if the water pumps are out,
pots to heat the water in,
a generator and / or an alternator for electricity – especially important for running your fridge / freezer,
a conversion kit for using propane or natural gas with your generator,
10 extra gallons of gasoline for your car (that shortage & long lines were a big surprise!),
keep your gas tanks and cell phones charges full at all times (in case of sudden surprises),
your neighbors’ phone numbers (overlooked & incredibly handy!),
alternate locations you can go to that may have power when you don’t,
protection! as in firearms, with the knowledge to use them safely, and the resolve to do so as well if necessary,
and of course non-perishable food, such as canned goods and water-proof sealed containers (flimsy plastic bags won’t hold up well). Plastic soda bottles make great rice containers, for example.

Having these items made losing power for 3 days a mere inconvenience, rather than a miserable saga.

And my heart breaks for everyone who lost possessions, homes, friends & families; I can’t imagine that pain, and my prayers are with you all.

November 5, 2012 at 3:40 pm
(9) New Yorker says:

Oh, I forgot to mention: Everyone should get a copy of Cody Lundin’s book: “When All Hell Breaks Loose”. This is the best guide I have found on how to live with more independence from the grid. Less reliance on electricity, less artificiial lighting, less gas, electrical or oil heating, etc etc.

Trust me on this, you won’t be disappointed.

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