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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.