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
What happens to those elementary students who do not need special education, but need additional help in the classroom? Darlene, a former teacher, asked that question and decided to take action.
A group of 60 teens from 25 schools in Kentucky raises over $30,000 and does more than 3,000 hours of service each year.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School in Tennessee, a group of students decided to take Do Something’s “Increase Your Green” challenge, where students across the nation competed to see who could make their school most environmentally friendly.
I have been a Red Cross Volunteer affiliated with the Washtenaw County Chapter in Ann Arbor, Michigan for almost 4 years. Because I have a full time job, I cannot volunteer as much as I would like but am able to find 8 or so hours a week to join in the efforts of a fixture of my hometown.
The blind leading the young: DC area woman can't see, but she can read, and she tutors kids to help prevent summer learning loss.
As a longtime blood donor, Kerri P. knows the importance of giving blood. But she never knew that the need for blood would hit so close to home. Her two-year-old daughter, Mary Clare, was born with a heart defect.
MillionTreesNYC is a 10-year initiative to plant and care for one million new trees throughout the City’s five boroughs.
On June 25th, Molly S headed to a block party, but not for the festivities. Instead, she was busy pre-screening individuals for SNAP (food stamp) benefits - work that she describes as "the most rewarding."
I am an advocate for energy efficiency.
I have been a Community Emergency Response Team member in Cobb County, Georgia since 2004. It all started with my desire to help my family and neighbors to survive a disaster.
A 15 year old sophomore at Great Oak High School in Temecula, contacted Melissa, the Unit Director at the Great Oak Clubhouse in Temecula, CA. She was looking for a community service project that would truly have impact on the community and make a difference for children in her own town.
A community comes together to make the quality of living better for one little girl and, in turn, everyone benefits.
This post from the Arizona Republic just scratches the surface of a great story of service, and how we can help increase volunteerism around the nation.
I am the day to day manager of a nonprofit farmers' market that was founded in February, 2008 with the mission of growing and sustaining a local food economy in and around Pass Christian, Mississippi.
One man has found a way to share his art with the world's most appreciative audience.
Can you imagine a program where teachers have to submit grant proposals to their students? Check out how these middle-schoolers in Florida are taking charge of their education and their communities.
One recent graduate finds a renewed sense of purpose in her volunteer efforts.
The Columbus Crew, the 2008 Major League Soccer champs, took Washington, DC, by storm on July 13. First stop was the White House, where they were honored by President Obama for winning the championship and for serving their community.
The US Forest Service has hosted a volunteer historic preservation program called "Passport in Time" since 1989.
Getting to know your neighbors is one of the most meaningful ways to keep your communities safe.
These ten men are answering the president's call to service from within the walls of their correctional facility. Hear what they have to say.
After watching a news story about his local food bank, Peter N. decided to tackle hunger head on and started "One Can a Week."
Nearly 50% of residents of Lansing Michigan are living at or near poverty levels. In an effort to help residents stretch their financial resources and improve their access to nutritious, locally grown foods, the Old Town Commercial Association is sponsoring the first ever Community Garden project.
On June 22nd, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar joined volunteer and youth groups at Shenandoah National Park as part of a national kickoff for President Obama’s new “United We Serve” campaign.
On June 23, 2009 St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) launched its first volunteer-based weatherization project under the President’s United We Serve initiative.
To kick off United We Serve, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center. The Secretary said that meeting with the soldiers “lifted him up.”
On June 22, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan kicked off United We Serve by volunteering with the St. Bernard Project in New Orleans, LA.
Libraries across the country provide opportunities for young people to stay engaged this summer. The Department of Education is fighting summer learning loss and asking all Americans to help children and youth develop a passion for reading. What will you do?
First Lady Michelle Obama helps build a new playground in San Francisco, discusses the importance of service in tackling our nation's greatest challenges and discovers her new favorite tool - the ratchet.
Broward in south Florida is known for more than just hanging chads! Families get books and encouragement to keep reading, and PTA commits to staying engaged.


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