US Flag AddThis Social Bookmark Button


Home United We Serve National Service
Mobile Menu Button
National Service Blog - Archive
Lars Anderson

The following post was originally published on the FEMA blog on October 30, 2012.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. While the worst of the weather is beyond some areas on the East Coast, Sandy remains a very large storm system that continues to pose life-threatening hazards for coastal and inland areas including high winds, heavy rains, dangerous storm surge and flash flooding, and snow and cold weather hazards in some areas.

Some important safety reminders if you're in an area that has been, or is still being, impacted by this storm:

  • Continue to listen to your local officials – If you evacuated and are returning home, make sure local officials have deemed the area safe to return to. If Sandy is still impacting your area and local officials give the order to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Stay off the roads – Emergency workers may be assisting people in flooded areas or cleaning up debris. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.
  • If your power is out, safely use a generator or candles – Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions. If using candles, please use caution. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire.
  • Avoid downed power or utility lines – They may be live with deadly voltage. Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
  • Don't drive or walk through flood waters – It only takes a small amount of water to move people or vehicles. If you encounter a flooded roadway, don't attempt to pass through water –turn around, don't drown. And if your home has flood water inside or around it, don't walk or wade in it. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.

How to help those affected by Sandy

We've had a number of questions come in on our Facebook and Twitter accounts about how to help those who have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. A few pointers to remember:

  • Cash is the most efficient method of donating – Cash offers voluntary agencies the most flexibility in obtaining the most-needed resources and pumps money into the local economy to help businesses recover.
  • Volunteer or donate through a trusted organization – At the national level, many voluntary, faith-based and community-based organizations are active in disasters, and are trusted ways to donate to disaster survivors. In addition to the national members, each state has its own list of voluntary organizations active in disasters.

Numerous blood drives have been canceled as a result of the storm and the Red Cross has a need for blood donations. To schedule a blood donation or for more information about giving blood or platelets, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Here's a video from President Obama reminding everyone how we can help those in need after a disaster:

Latest update on FEMA's activities

Last night, the President declared major disasters for New York and New Jersey, making disaster assistance available to those in the heaviest hit areas affected by the storm. Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the following counties in New York and New Jersey can begin applying for assistance by registering online or on your phone at

  • Declared counties in New York: Bronx, Kings, Nassau, New York, Richmond, Suffolk, and Queens.
  • Declared counties in New Jersey: Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union Counties

Those impacted can also apply by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired.

In addition to federal disaster assistance being available in several counties, states and localities and the American Red Cross continue to operate emergency shelters in many states. You can search for open shelters by visiting the Red Cross website, downloading the FEMA smartphone app, or by texting the word “shelter” and a ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA). For example, if you're searching for a shelter in the 01234 ZIP code, you would text Shelter 01234.

Finally, we continue to work closely with our emergency management partners and are embedded with state teams to support response efforts and assess unmet needs. Our priority focus remains on life-saving and life-sustaining activities. Currently, more than 1,500 FEMA personnel are positioned along the East Coast working to support disaster preparedness and response operations, including search and rescue, situational awareness, communications and logistical support. Here are some details about our staff's support:

  • Twenty-eight teams comprised of 294 FEMA Corps members are pre-staged to support Sandy.
  • Seven federal urban search and rescue task forces have been activated and are deploying in the Mid-Atlantic as needed and requested.
  • Fourteen Incident Management Assistance Teams
  • Twelve liaison officers are positioned in state emergency operations centers along the East Coast supporting preparedness activities and ensure there are no unmet needs.
  • 10 Disability Integration Advisors supporting emergency management in 10 states on current alert and warning, evacuation and sheltering needs and preparing for potential post-storm operations.

Please share these important safety reminders and we hope you're taking every precaution to stay safe.

Keywords: Disaster, FEMA, FEMACorps, Hurricane Sandy
Students at Scituate High School decided that their school was not “green” enough and decided to take action by entering Do Something’s “Increase Your Green” competition, where students across the nation competed to see who could get their school to be the most environmentally friendly.
As a part of United We Serve's Community Renewal Issue Week, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan worked alongside volunteers at the Cleveland Food Bank to prepare sandwiches for hungry children.
These local kids aren't letting summer pass them by - they're taking action to keep learning and to make their community better.
I know as I look back on this year, I will regard it as one of the most transformational experiences of my life.
One woman's personal satisfaction in service.
A Big Brother volunteer in St. Louis helps out at the MLB All-Star Game
Working with other community organizations, businesses, the City Council, Solano County, faith-based groups, non-profits, WIA and colleges, I am happy to report that we are helping to develop youth training programs, which empower youth to finish school and get jobs. Solano Community College also plans to have a Green Center, teaching green job practices, which will lead to more jobs with livable wages.
Young Sabrina was acting out and needed some extra help staying focused in school. Carol, a Foster Grandparent, is helping her make it through.
We all know the Red Cross responds to natural disasters through stories and pictures that generate horror, sympathy for lives that were lost or uprooted, admiration for selfless dedication of volunteers, and the dreadful conditions in which they worked. However, they were also remote, happening to other people in other places. In February of 2007, my concept of the Red Cross was forever changed.
Volunteers from the Grand County Senior Center and member of the Delicate Stitchers Quilt Guild give "Children in Crisis" a sense of stability with Love Bags.
When Darius decided to boldly take action, he was able to make an impact in his life and the lives of countless others.
Over 4,500 pounds of water chestnut were hand pulled from the pond in just one day, a volume of 14 cubic yards.
Rain or shine, we show up to parks on Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons to read to anyone who wants to listen.
The state of Oklahoma knows too well the devastation that disasters can cause. Whatever type of disaster, such as tornadoes, flooding, or terrorist attacks (such as the bombing of the Murrah Building) the physical, emotional and financial harm to people and property can be enormous.
A week of volunteering in rural Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia opens Abraham's eyes and pushes him to serve in his own community and beyond.
Over a six-week session 16 kids called the "Skilleteers" planned, filmed, and starred in a children's cooking show that now airs on CAT TV in Columbia, Missouri.
On June 14, 2009 groups of volunteers emerged to “Go Beyond” and help clean and restore the baseball field and park surrounding the Roller and Recreation Facility in St. Louis, Missouri.
The NFL Players Association and its players have joined President Barack Obama in his mission to build a stronger nation through the “United We Serve” initiative, a national effort designed to encourage more Americans to serve their communities.
In the summer of 2006, saddened by the sight of local schoolyards that had been abandoned by children and occupied by troublemakers and drug users, Marco and Jennifer Chiappetta began reaching out to youth in their community. What started out as a single game of catch has evolved into a powerful mentorship program that is shifting the culture of their neighborhood. On Monday, July 20th the New York Yankees helped celebrate the Chiappettas as part of their HOPE Week.
Nearly 800 million people in the world cannot read. This is only one story.
Reports state that families of children with special needs are 80% more at risk for divorce, and the children are 30% more at risk for out of home placement. Respite days help families to cope with the stress of caring for these special children.
On June 23rd, Nothing But Nets engaged youth in a global campaign to fight one of the biggest killers in Africa, malaria.
LHVA is currently building a 40-mile trail along the Lackawanna River. A mile and a half of it runs through Scranton and this section of the trail tends to be one of the dirtiest areas
In Minnesota, a collaborative of citizens has emerged to provide a forum for veterans to share their stories and begin the process of healing.
On Saturday, July 11th, over 300 volunteers turned out for the first of a year long monthly Downtown Skidrow Clean Up Initiative in Los Angeles.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius knows how important early childhood literacy is. Do you?
“Will you marry me?” were the last words I expected to hear on my first day of volunteering with Kids Enjoy Exercise Now (KEEN).
My name is Mitch and I am a volunteer fishing instructor for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and an Anglers’ Legacy Ambassador. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Anglers’ Legacy Program is a nationwide mentoring program to introduce newcomers to fishing and boating.
After Hurricane Katrina, retired businessman Bill Groome wanted to help rebuild New Orleans, his home of 30 years, but knew his best talents were not in the carpentry or construction field. Operation HOPE provided him with the opportunity to put his extraordinary business skills to good use.
When disaster strikes, often a home fire, John and other team members are on the spot to help those affected. He finds out what’s needed and may arrange hotel lodging and provide funds for immediate needs.


Stay in Touch

Follow us on the following social networks, to ensure that you are always up to date!

Facebook Icon
Twitter Icon
YouTube Icon




Tell us how we're doing:

National Service websites:


Back to Top