Seven Days After Sandy: A “Guest” Post

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The  PRDude)

Last time, I wrote a few thoughts about the latest natural disaster to strike our nation, what’s now called “superstorm” Sandy.  I tried to “make sense” of what happened to a big city like New York and small towns down the Jersey coast. If you missed the post, read on.

Tonight, a week after this devastating storm, I’m sharing this space with a very good friend, Paul Fetscher, who lived through Sandy.  He’s a native New Yorker who now lives in the town of Long Beach, New York, right on Long Island.  Here’s what he shared in thoughts and images:

Sandy was not kind to Long Beach. The Ocean met the Bay. Every street and home on the island got flooded.

Still no Water, Sewer, Electric, Heat or … Newspaper Delivery. OK. No mail either.

Needless to say, no internet, cell or email either.  I need to drive to Rockville Centre to batch send and receive emails.  That requires gas which is a scarce commodity. Gas lines if open are best part of a mile and about 3 hours long.

Estimates for water restoration are several days; power 10-14 Days and train service in Weeks.

Teams are here in force from the National Guard to Homeland Security and State Troopers to FEMA.

Apparently the City of Long Beach lost many of their vehicles. So we are seeing ambulances, fire trucks and police vehicles from throughout NY & NJ. The furthest helpers are Serve-Pro trucks from Jackson Mississippi.

Attitude is great!  Everyone is cooperative. Its reminiscent of the “Era of Good Feeling” after 9/11.

Long Beach is getting Red Cross relief and Meals Ready to Eat. Verizon has a station for short calls and phone charging.

We’ve got Helicopter patrols along the perimeter.

For three days we had road blocks manned by the State Troopers. They were assuring we had only residents coming in – keeping out the sight seers or potential looters.

The Rockaways also go hit by both the weather and some looters. No they’re pissed that they’re not getting the same TV coverage that Long Beach is. Same for Staten Island.

See, everyone is simply jealous of Long Beach.

I want to post a sign at the entry to Long Beach.

“Giant Multi Home Yard Sale”

And another in Island Park where there is a 40′ boat stranded just opposite the 7-11 parking lot.

“Boat for Sale
Water Extra”

And the adventure continues!  A good sense of humor helps a lot!

I’m actually enjoying cooking everything on a. BBQ from Bacon & Eggs to Pasta.  Roasting potatoes and Brussel Sprouts just take longer.

Since everyone is Safe and Sound, Its (sic) merely an inconvenience.

Thanks for your support.
Paul G W Fetscher CCIM SCLS

Note the optimism in Paul’s thoughts, and the humor.  How he equates the spirit of cooperation in his town to the “let’s pull together” spirit that arose following the terrorist attacks on September 11.  Yes, there’s no doubt that Long Beach will dry out and people will rebuild.  So will New York and the little towns up and down the Jersey shore.

This shake-your-fist-in-the-face-of-adversity attitude is distinctly American.  It’s present — or it should be — from Long Beach, New York to Long Beach, California.

On this evening, just hours from the opening of polls, just hours from the 2012 presidential election, I hope every American who is eligible will vote. Shake your fist in the face of the adversity our nation faces and cast your ballot. I’ll bet the polls will be open in Long Beach.

Trying to Make Sense of Sandy

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Where to start.  Where to try to comprehend the ramifications — short and long-term — following the destruction brought on by wind and water along the most densely-populated part of the United States.

As I write this, the reports of what’s left of parts of the coastal areas of New York and New Jersey keep arriving following the very unlady-like visit from Hurricane Sandy.

This one from the New York Times was posted online just a few minutes ago.  Some accompanying images are below.  More stories and images will come: Stories of survivors and rescuers, flooding and burning, and unfortunately, death.  The images and video will put all of the stories into a perspective we can see and hear.

Here in Chicago, we’ve had rough battles with Mother Nature.  There have been floods and destructive winds, and of course, we can get lots of snow.  You might remember that I chronicled a 20-inch snowfall in a past post.

But I’ve never witnessed firsthand the kind of utter devastation that has struck the Eastern seaboard over the past 48 hours.  I, frankly, I’m not sure what else to say.  Just can’t make sense of what’s happened and what will be the long-term outcome for the people, places and businesses who were in harm’s way.

In my life, I’ve visited New York City many times and remain fascinated by this metropolis. Read this post from a year ago for some insight.  There’s no place like it in this great nation. I’ll be back, and there’s no doubt New York City will be back.

Back to some conclusions from Sandy; here are a few:

  • There will be more storms like Sandy. They’ll cause destruction, and those of us who live far from the coasts will why choose to live there, and why they always rebuild. But rebuild they will.
  • People will blame the government for not doing enough, and there will be times when those responsible for our well-being will fail. But there will be more instances of quiet heroes who do their jobs well but stay out of the spotlight.
  • Sandy will be compared with other catastrophic storms that have battered our coastal areas.  Experts will compare the lives lost and billions of dollars in property damage and lost business.  But it’s impossible to accurately measure the impact to the human psyche of those affected.

In a 2010 post, I determined it necessary to blog about the horrific scene following the earthquakes that struck the island nation of Haiti.  Then I thought there would be some role for public relations to play in Haiti’s recovery.  Didn’t have many solid strategies.

Watching what’s taking place out east, I still don’t.  What about you?  Can you “make sense” of storms like Sandy and what’s left in their wake?  If you’re a public relations professional, what can members of the profession do to help?