Superstorm Sandy may have been overshadowed by election coverage during the last few days, but the storm's aftermath still is foremost on the minds of Northeasterners. And adding insult to injury, a blanket of snow and slush now covers a good portion of the storm-damaged area.
Like other up-and-running agencies, the Sayville (N.Y.) Fire Department is collecting supplies to distribute to the needy in Suffolk County, which lies 50 miles from Queens and 75 miles from Montauk Point in Long Island.
“We’ve been doing clothing drives, and it looks like a thrift shop in here,” Safety Officer Richie Maddox said. Clothing, cleaning supplies, Tyvek sheets for repairs. “We’ve made eight trips with big box trucks and vans to the other areas trying to help.”
Because last year's Hurricane Isaac wasn't as severe as storm-watchers predicted, many Long Island residents ignored Sandy warnings and stayed in their homes. Sandy ultimately destroyed five houses in Sayville and left their owners in need of rescue. Crews needed to use boats during the rescues.
But Sayville fared better than nearby Long Beach, Lido and Rockaway.
“The Long Beach Fire Department lost six trucks and had 6 feet of water in the firehouses,” Maddox said. “The pictures in the news and local media do no justice to the damage. These are places that normally don’t flood. Two to three blocks into the community from the ocean were flooded.”
Nassau County also suffered severe damage, Maddox said.
“Crews from upstate New York are in Nassau Country responding to calls because members lost close to everything they have,” he said. “It’s probably not as bad as New Jersey or Staten Island, but a lot of cops and firefighters live in that area and lost almost 100 houses from fires.”
And nearly 800,000 people in Long Island lost power after the storm; 200,000 still are waiting for power to be restored. Utility crews and trucks have come from as far away as California to help restore the power.
A team of firefighters from Dearborn, Mich., also is headed east with funds and supplies, including blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food, toiletries, hand sanitizer and work gloves. Frefighter Mike Mattern said the crew plans not only to deliver the goods, but also to stay around to help with the clean up and rebuild.
The New York State Fire Chiefs Association is working closely with the Terry Farrell Fundto provide funds to the hard-hit fire departments, according to NYSFCA Executive Director Tom LaBelle.
Here are some other ways you can help:
- IAFF Disaster Relief Fund, select Affiliate FDNY UFOA and FDNY UFA
- NVFC Disaster Relief Fund, assisting volunteer firefighters in the region
- NYC FF Brotherhood Foundation
- FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation
It’s a shame that the election coverage superseded the stories of devastation from Sandy, but the heartbreak and recovery still goes on.