Sandy: How to Help NOW...

I heard Gen Honoree (ret), who was the Army general who led the team into New Orleans after "heckuva job Brownie" and crew failed, speak yesterday. He said that neighbors will save more lives than first responders. His point: as daylight breaks today, first responders will be out looking to assess damage, get infrastructure fixed, get the power back on...but if you are okay, and it is safe for you to be outside, check on your neighbors, especially the elderly. They may need help that you can provide: if they fell in the dark in their homes, for example. Further, this is the end of the month, so people who live on limited incomes may not have had the money to stock up on food and water: you could help on your block.

PLEASE BE CAREFUL - the reports indicate massive flooding, downed power lines, and trees are still snapping, which can cause further damage. Be careful to avoid walking under trees. If you see downed lines, back up, the ground can be hot (electrified). 

I have not been beyond my front yard since the storm started, but I took Fiona out last night and was struck by the fact that it smelled like salt spray from the ocean. Here. 70 miles inland. When the sun comes up, I will walk my neighborhood and check on my elderly neighbors and make sure they're okay. I won't call, because they always say they're okay, but I need to see for myself. Then I'll walk around to see further damage.

I know from texts received that parts of my town have flooded and lost power. I consider myself incredibly lucky that my house is okay and our power held. We flickered and the internet went in and out, but we are fine. 

New York and New Jersey have been declared major disaster areas. Residents and business owners in these two states who sustained losses can begin applying for assistance by registering online or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. Other areas may be added later, and may have different portals.

There is discussion about whether or not elections will all be held next Tuesday. It's actually a state-by-state decision, and there is precedent for a later election (NY mayoral primary, originally scheduled for 9/11/01) but not for a presidential one. However, FEMA has funds set aside if it's necessary. I am unconcerned about that right now, as there are more immediate concerns, but I will do the research later and post on it.

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