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
When 5-year old Andy Fass attended his first baseball game, it was hard to imagine it would change his life. But a chance meeting with legendary Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte gave Fass the desire to try a game he thought he would never play.
Stefanie Dwyer’s childhood in East Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall shaped her future in a unique way. After growing up in a country that had many limitations, Dwyer held on to memories of horseback riding that inspired her to bring that sense of freedom to people with physical and mental challenges.
Alison's daily struggles while raising two young children made her dream of a college degree seem unobtainable. But things began to turn around when the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) in Washington, DC connected her with a Promotor.
Jorge Muñoz's 2004 encounter with homeless day laborers sounds like the pivotal moment in the latest feel-good movie. But the “Angel in Queens” wouldn't be providing up to 140 meals nightly if the need in their words didn't resonate with him: “If we have a job, we will get money to eat tonight; if not, we don't eat anything.”
Once again the Corporation for National and Community Service is collaborating with the New York Yankees during its fourth annual HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel) June 25-29 as the baseball franchise recognizes acts of goodwill and the hope and encouragement they provide.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
The Coulee Region RSVP in La Crosse, Wisconsin, collaborates with Gundersen Lutheran Health System's environmental stewardship program to mitigate some of the waste that was being sent to the county's landfill and reuse the material to help others in the hospital.
More than 50 years ago, a group of young African-American college students staged a sit-in to demand service at a whites-only lunch counter in Greensboro, NC , and sparked a youth movement throughout the country. As the sit-ins spread, some young people were beaten and even arrested, but they were not deterred. As a result, they helped end racial segregation in America, and showed the world how youth determination and leadership can make a difference.
This week, I had the pleasure of attending the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago, IL. This annual gathering of the nonprofit sector brings together activists and organizers, government officials and nonprofit leaders from around the country.
For some veterans, it feels like another battle begins when they return home from serving their country – getting a place to call home.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) just announced a tremendous commitment to support veterans and military families at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. From expanded grants to increased “people power” in areas of need, we are ready to stand with our soldiers to provide opportunities that will help them continue their service here at home while we serve their special needs.
As thousands of service leaders gathered at National Conference on Volunteering and Service today, Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer announced $213 million in new AmeriCorps grants to strengthen the impact of more than 275 organizations across the country in tackling the most pressing challenges facing communities and the nation.
Today the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced the winners of the 2012 Service Impact Awards at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service in Chicago.
Next week, CNCS is headed to Chicago for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. There, over 1000 members of the national service family will join the more than 4000 conference attendees for three days of service-focused conversations, lessons, and sessions.
Today's Wordless Wednesday celebrates National Smile Month with a look at the joy volunteers experience while giving back. With smiles like these, who wouldn't volunteer?
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
In October 2010, I began my first year of service as an AmeriCorps member with the Community Building Partnerships for Youth in Transition program in Denver, Colorado. I was placed with the YMCA of Metropolitan Denver in the Community Programs Branch at Bruce Randolph School and tasked with mentoring ten youth over the course of the year – a job I found both intimidating and exciting.
Minnesota Reading Corps, an AmeriCorps program designed to help every child in the state become a successful reader by the end of third grade, announced positive growth in its results with numbers that surpassed those for students statewide.
“I am the leadership of the now.” That's what Ely Flores told the White House Council for Community Solutions (the Council) during our meeting in October 2011. Ely used this phrase to express his deep frustration with policymakers and organizations that refer to youth as the “leadership of the future” and dismiss any potential contribution that young people can make in their communities today. Ely's words still resonate with me nearly seven months later – and motivate me to push harder to help young people with similar frustrations.
The Social Innovation Fund is excited to announce the applicants to the 2012 grant competition. We received 31 applications by the due date of March 27, of which 25 were compliant and moved on to the full competition.
The Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa has a rich heritage in food production, but an increased reliance on processed foods has left them susceptible to America's obesity epidemic. One way to battle this problem is to increase the availability of locally grown, healthy food choices, and the Red Cliff Mino Bi Ma De Se Win (Return to the Good Life) Community Farm is tackling the problem head-on.
We would all like to believe we control our own destiny. But experiences teach us we are sometimes shaped by forces outside ourselves: the opportunities we encounter, the people we meet, those who mentor us, and the communities that surround us. This is not to say that our paths are prescribed—but that we need the skills to recognize and seize opportunities that come our way.
Earlier this week, National Service traveled to Missouri to help the community of Joplin mark the one-year anniversary of the tornado that struck the town last year. The response to the destruction has been remarkable - with volunteers traveling from near and far to help rebuild Joplin. On Tuesday, May 22, 2012, thousands of Joplin residents, volunteers, and supporters came together to honor those lost and celebrate the last year's progress.
One year ago today, Joplin MO was ravaged by a devastating E5 tornado. In the 12 months that followed, the community responded with an unmatched sense of hope and a determination to rebound. National Service is proud to have been a part of these recovery efforts and continues to provide services there today.
Donations from around the country piled up and volunteers turned out in droves in the days and weeks that followed last year's devastating May 22 tornado in Joplin, MO. City officials estimate that Joplin received donated resources and volunteer hours totaling $17.7 million, the largest amount in Missouri's history and the largest amount ever recorded in FEMA's Region VII.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we'll be featuring a variety of content on the blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.
To mark the one-year anniversary of the May 22 Joplin tornado, we'll be featuring a variety of content on the blog, including Q&As with those who served in the community, like this one.
On April 20, Nebraska young people paused for seven seconds of silence. These students and young adults were illustrating the fact that every seven seconds someone in our country is bullied. Together, 61,709 students and youth in communities across Nebraska made a personal pledge to fight bullying and stand up for those who are bullied.
May is a time of graduations, fresh spring air and new beginnings. But for many, graduation from high school or college is far from a reality, and opportunities for a fresh start are out of reach. At least one in six young people ages 16-24 are disconnected from school and work – the two pathways that provide the greatest hope for a bright and productive future. Yet, these young people dream of building careers and making important contributions to our communities. That's why we see them as “Opportunity Youth.”
For an aging individual coping with the loss of mobility, lack of proper foundations in and around a home can lead to difficulties remaining independent and mobile. This is especially true of our nation's veterans and as a nation, we have a duty to take care of these individuals who have sacrificed so much for our country.


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