Hurricane and Disaster Relief
As a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member, I have been trained in suicide prevention and counseling, Red Cross first aid, and I was CPR and Automated External Defibrillator certified. I was on the first UMCOR/NYAC team to go to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake and did disaster relief in Prattsville, New York, after Hurricane Irene and in Connecticut after Super Storm Sandi. I specialize in team creation, development, and deployment.
A Personal Note
The destruction in a disaster zone is crushing. It is even more heartbreaking to see the human suffering that could have been avoided by following these three simple steps:
2. Prepare; and, most importantly,
I grew up in a remote rural part of the country where weather was extreme. There, particularly in those days, people took weather seriously. If you weren’t prepared, you died. I preach preparedness in my sleep.
Imagine how I felt when disaster struck my home, and I was unprepared!
In the summer of 2021, Connecticut was hit by the remnants of four hurricanes. Hurricanes in Connecticut are rare. One might expect one to brush the state every five years or so, with minimal damage. Still, there have been exceptions. The 1938 hurricane killed almost 700 people, and more than 60,000 people lost their homes. In 1954 Hurricane Carol killed 72 and caused immense damage. In 1985, Hurricane Gloria killed eight people and left thousands homeless. More recently, Hurrican (“Superstorm”) Sandi was a gut punch.
I received an text alert that the power had gone off in my home. I didn’t think much about it. I returned home to find that without electricity, my sump pump had failed, and, with five inches of rain in a couple hours, my basement — chock-full of books, electronics, and important papers — was flooded. It took 13 weeks of hard work to restore it.
I learned from the experience. I learned that it’s easy to let your preparation lapse when the odds are small, even though the consequences are great. I learned that once the situation is stabilized — the second goal of recovery — the victim’s work is just beginning. I learned that, after a disaster, the woods are full of crooks and dishonest restoration companies eager to relieve you of your insurance money. I learned that it’s easy to take the bare necessities for granted. I learned the value of redundant safety systems. I learned how long and tedious the clean-up and restoration period can be — and that the process introduces new problems and health risks. When I went out on my next mission of mercy, I was much more humble.
- Haiti Relief
- Mexican Normalization
- The Hamden Resettlement Project
- Women in Transtion