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Hurricane Sandy Monday November 12, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Listening to the news, I hear that FEMA is being lauded for doing a good job after hurricane Sandy. But are they? What did they learn from Hurricane Katrina, from Andrew, from Hugo that they put to use and what should they have learned that they did not put to use? FEMA stands for Federal Emergency Management Agency. Emergency situations are their job.

Gas lines ruptured all over the place and flammable gas was a danger to life and property and the escaping gas was not turned off until 5 or 6 days after the storm. Does that make sense?

Also notable was the lack of gasoline. Gasoline is needed to run generators to provide electricity and heat and to run motor vehicles. Why wasn't FEMA prepared to have gasoline available. Without electric power, the gas pumps don't work to pump the gasoline. Gas stations had no generators or alternate power sources. Those gas stations that did have power, ran out of gas and that made the lineups an other stations, many blocks long. Clearly those in charge knew that gasoline would be a necessity after such a storm.

I have spoken to friends who were in Hoboken, New Jersey during the storm and told me that there was no phone service. No land lines, and no cellular service. How can someone call 911 without telephone service? Shouldn't FEMA have had a backup plan for that as well?

These terrible storms show us how dependent we are on electricity. Shouldn't FEMA have a stock of generators and generator trucks available, especially during these colder days. Didn't FEMA learn from these prior hurricanes what is needed in these circumstances? We here at NN had backup generators for years. Thank goodness we never needed them, but we were prepared for the worst, even if it never happened. Isn't that what FEMA is supposed to do for its citizens. If it is, I say FEMA was not a success.

Sure, it is easy to be critical and things will not go perfectly when roads are washed out, and power lines are down, and the temperature drops close to freezing. The people suffering after Sandy are not expecting perfection from their government, but they have a right to expect all reasonable assistance from a government agency set up to provide that.

If terrorists succeed in attacking our electric power grid and bring it down, I have very little faith that our governments are prepared to handle such a power disruption.

I would be very interested in hearing what you think about FEMA's response to this hurricane disaster.