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In the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Since Monday, Legislator Denenberg has been down in the district, helping residents where he can and urging LIPA and the Town of Hempstead to speed up the debris removal and power restoration process for the district.

Here is an update on the situation:

LIPA Update:
Approximately 945,000 were left without power on Long Island in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Since then, around 400,000 customers have seen their powers restored, mainly as a result of repairs to the infrastructure. Of LIPA's 185 substations, 44 substations were damaged (including 8 that were underwater). Over half of these damaged substations have been repaired. Repair priorities are: hospitals, emergency services, main roadways, water, sewage treatment plants, gas, and LIPA's infrastructure.  (It was announced today that all hospitals that are not in flood zones are restored.)

Although residents might be frustrated because they do not see crews on the street, be aware that this does not mean nothing is being done to restore their power. Many outages may not be caused because of, or exclusively because of, damage right near a resident's home, but rather in a substation, a transformer or a downed line elsewhere. Additionally, many LIPA employees are surveying the damage from personal vehicles which are not marked as LIPA vehicles. (LIPA also plans to do some surveying via helicopter.) Due to the vast amount of damage (more than double the damage from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene from last year) it could be "several days" before trucks even make their way to neighborhoods. LIPA notes that neighborhoods blocked by trees or flooded may be inaccessible to LIPA trucks and therefore the process of getting to the area is delayed. Additionally, in areas where there was flooding, power cannot be restored until it is determined that these areas are safe and will not endanger residents and workers.

Finally, LIPA reports 5,000 crew members working on repairs with more coming in from out of town. Because of the widespread damage across the east coast, crews that would normally be available are busy repairing damage in their own areas. As this work is completed, they are coming to Long Island. The workforce is expected to nearly double today and tomorrow as work in upstate New York and other areas are completed. (Nassau County's Department of Public Works also has an additional 200 staff members helping remove trees.)

Disaster Assistance from FEMA:

Residents can apply for FEMA's disaster assistance online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov, via web enabled mobile device http://m.fema.gov, or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Disaster assistance (FEMA) applicants with speech disability and/or hearing loss and who use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585 directly. Applicants using 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362.

FEMA toll-free numbers are open 7am-10pm Mon-Sun until further notice. Aid applicants should be prepared to provide basic information such as name, address, phone number, insurance coverage and info to help substantiate losses.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be bringing its Mobile Disaster Recovery Center to Long Island starting today
The Center will be at the following locations to assist residents and business owners who sustained damage during the storm:
• Nassau Community College (1 Education Way, Garden City), 1 pm to 8 pm today, November 1st, and 8 am to 8 pm from November 2nd until further notice.
• Edward Bauer Elementary School (315 Montauk Highway, Lindenhurst) 1 pm to 7 pm today, November 1st and 7 am to 7 pm Friday, November 2nd.

Safety Precautions:

Assume any downed wire is live and to keep away from it. Report outages and downed wire at 800-490-0075.

Beware of people trying to scam their way into your homes. There have been reports of people pretending to be utility workers to get inside. LIPA workers should not be going into your homes and other utility workers should have proper identification.

To find the nearest shelter in your area, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA). Standard text rates apply.

If using generator for power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors.

If your fuel oil tank has spilled, make sure to call the DEC Hotline at 1-800-457-7362.

Call 911 for EMERGENCY help (injury, fire, threat of violence, anything
life-threatening)

Call 1-888-684-4274 for non-emergency help (non-life threatening situations)

Call 1-800-490-0075 to report wires down or blackouts with LIPA (provide a phone number so that you can get a call back about restorations)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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