The lessons from Sandy have been repeated over and over: Communities should be prepared to be self-sufficient for close to 10 days. That means having food, water, batteries and flashlights, among other things. Batteries were especially important during Sandy or perhaps more importantly, ways to charge them.
Adam DuBrowa/ FEMA
The challenges of Sandy emphasized the need for community leaders to become informed about how their communities can help themselves during disasters. Questions about to what degree local, state and federal agencies are responsible immediately following a disaster and which agencies or levels of government were responsible for certain services was a source of confusion for some communities.
She said that although the community understands what a nor’easter is, many residents were still at home waiting for a knock on the door. “You’re looking at a community that, from what I could see, didn’t have a strong CERT [Community Emergency Response Team],” Thompson said. “There was no FEMA, no Red Cross, no [Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster], no CERT. I don’t know who they thought was coming.”
.... “The public has a general misconception of what FEMA does,” she said. “They believe FEMA is going to come in and help in a physical way. And they don’t recognize the responsibility of the local and state [agencies] as far as who provides things.”
|Under $10 radio|
The local government or the state or, as a last resort, the federal government needs to set up a broadcast channel to get useful information out to the areas affected, with translators for those communities that lack English skills (the acquisition of which really ought to be encouraged amongst our population).
|Under $20 radio|
“The preparedness materials say you should have batteries and radios, but when we arrived seven days after the storm struck, those batteries are dead,” Thompson said. Preparing for three to five days is old, and “educated” people say be prepared to be self-sufficient for 10 days," Thompson said.
|Under $2 radio|
Further, if you really want to go cheap - there are these ear-bud, 2 AAA battery FM radios (with light, too!) for under $2 in bulk. I got one of those once as a gift from an organization for which I do some work on occasion. It worked fine. In fact, several year later, it still works when I remember to put in batteries. And those are "retail" prices, too, so I suspect there are even cheaper paths to follow.