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Six Things I Learned After Hurricane Sandy and How Westfield Can Help!

There are many lessons after Hurricane Sandy. Most important, perhaps, is how New Jersey'ans come together. Join our 365 Things Westfield Task Force this Wednesday, November 14 for our relief effort!

1.  New Jersey people rock. Simply put, they are awesome and there is no limit to their giving. Did you know there are many shelters and donation centers throughout affected areas of NJ who have received so much outpouring that they are actually turning away clothing? What they need NOW is for people to lend a helping hand. Volunteers who are returning to work must be replaced with others who can give their time to distribute food, clothing and supplies that must make it to those who are displaced. If you want to know where and how to volunteer, dial 1-800-JERSEY-7. 

If you’re able to travel to the Union Beach area on Wednesday, November 14th with the 365 Things Westfield Task Force to assist affected families in a relief effort, please email 365thingswestfield@gmail.com at your earliest convenience.

2.  While Hurricane Sandy was an unlikely event, NJ weather is no joke. Typically this time of year on the East Coast we see a lot of storm cells brewing into hurricanes. But they are commonly pushed out to sea. Unfortunately for us, Sandy met up with a high-pressure system which brought her back in.

However unlikely Sandy was, New Jersey weather can be pretty fierce. I remember severe storms in my youth, including Hurricane Floyd who dumped upwards of 20 inches of rain throughout the East Coast.

As a Real Estate Agent, I spend a lot of time showing my clients the benefits of the local area including schools and the community, walk-ability around town and long term value of their investment. I now plan to include a discussion about risk factors. For example, what’s the elevation? Are there flood zones?  How will climate changes affect your area? You want to be sure that your investment will still be standing if another event like Sandy comes our way.

3.  ATMs don’t work without power. When it’s in the bank, it’s protected, right? But when the power goes out and banks and ATMS are down, then what? It’s ALWAYS a good idea to keep a little cash handy.

Clarification: I’m NOT suggesting you stuff your mattress with the contents of your savings account. Just consider what you may need for two weeks of living expenses for things like gas, food, supplies, a hotel if necessary and then double that and put it somewhere safe. Generally, people don’t anticipate the full extent of what can happen in an emergency. If you REALLY want to CYA, make sure you have a couple months worth of living expenses available in a saving account. That’s just good planning.

4.  More about my own insurance policy. As a homeowner, you owe it to yourself to really understand in advance what your home insurance policy will and will not cover in the event of damage to your home. With Hurricane Sandy, it turns out that the storm had actually been downgraded from a Hurricane to a Tropical Storm. That’s pretty significant to a homeowner with considerable property damage. The impact on an average policy means that the homeowner would only pay their deductible. If it had been classified as an actual Hurricane, it could mean paying a percentage of the home value - which could mean the difference between $2,500 and $25,000. So it's important to stay informed!

If you’re a renter, having rental insurance can protect you from events like Hurricane Sandy, robbery, fire or from unforeseen issues like a toilet cracking and flooding your apartment and your neighbors below you. Costs can be as low at $20/month with a deductible of $500.

5.  Smart phones. Yeah. Not so smart after all. In the event of a storm like Sandy, cell towers go down and with it, they take your ability to connect with those you care about. For God sakes, people, invest in a traditional landline as a go to “backup” to our trusty smart phones. You’ll be happy you did.

6.  Martha’s Vineyard is not a bad place to be if you’re stranded out of town.  This planned vacation brought me out of town for the arrival of our unwanted guest and in spite of the cozy comfort of our resort hotel, all I could think about was New Jersey, my home state, her security and how much I wanted to be back. I spent a great deal of time tracking the storm and helped secure generators for family members as a replacement for my absence. The moment we could, we headed toward Jersey soil. 

Jersey Strong is just as real as the damage of this storm and I know for certain that we'll be whole again.

For more home, real estate and community info, connect with me at www.facebook.com/newjerseyrealtorjodi and www.facebook.com/365thingswestfield.

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.

Scott W. November 13, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Couple other thoughts on Gasoline o When standing in a long gas line for hours, make nice with the people around you and offer to watch their cans and hold their place in line while they go get a cup of coffee – or vice versa when you need that cup of coffee - and then hope they don’t run off with your cans. o Don’t even think about cutting in line no matter how desperate you are because it will cause a near-riot. o Don’t take the offer from the guy walking down the gas line to sell your filled 5 gallon can for $50 to someone else in the back of the line (or in the line for cars) that is desperate for 5 gallons of gas. o Be sure the gas station is actually open (or is about to open) before heading to the back of the line. If it is about to open, be patient as there could be a further delay in the actual pumping because the police have not yet arrived to maintain order, set out cones, or tie-off police tape to designate certain areas as (in)accessible. o Know the unwritten rules for filling the cans before getting in line by dropping off a scout to observe for a few minutes. Or if solo, simply ask someone in line how it works - but not the people at the front of the line. See item above about cutting in line – even though it is a perceived attempt to cut in line.  Be prepared to be ridiculed if you break any of the unwritten rules and keep your temper in check when the barbs and jokes come flying your way. See item above about near-riot…
Jodi Luminiello December 06, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Thanks Scott. I did not stand online for gas but thought alot about the people who had to. It's a scenario we're not used to but with a little consideration for others as you've outlined, it doesn't have to be chaotic. Appreciate your comment.

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