A Message from Norwalk's Emergency Management Office:
One year ago on Tuesday, Superstorm Sandy damaged Norwalk and communities throughout Connecticut, and a dozen other states. “Every disaster offers lessons learned for future events to help us be better prepared for the next event” Said Norwalk Fire Chief Denis McCarthy. Below are some lessons learned to help Norwalk residents:
While disaster funds are available, seek assistance if you sustained damage. Often time it limited after the storm for residents to file insurance claims and apply for FEMA or SBA assistance, so its important to act when the resources are still available. Remember to keep receipts, take photographs and keep all your disaster related paperwork. For residents still struggling to recover on this first anniversary, new funds are available to help residents with repairs and elevations through the State of Connecticut and Department of Housing. A local recovery center for this funds have been set up at the former fire station at 100 Fairfield Ave. Homeowners are encouraged to call the program’s toll free hotline at 1-866-272-1976 to schedule an appointment or for more information.
Consider purchasing flood insurance. Ninety percent of all natural disasters are accompanied by some form of flooding. However, flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners, renters or business insurance policies. Many Sandy victims did not have flood insurance and were either uninsured or underinsured for the disaster. To learn more, go to www.FloodSmart.gov or talk to your insurance professional.
Renters also need insurance. In Norwalk many residents rent their homes so a large number of renters were impacted by Sandy. Unfortunately, many learned that their landlords were not responsible for damage to their personal belongings caused by Superstorm Sandy as many did not have renters insurance. A renters insurance policy provides coverage for personal possessions damaged by wind, fire, theft and other disasters listed as well as the costs associated with living elsewhere while a rental home is being repaired.
Take time to prepare for different types of disasters and how your families would be impacted. Some emergencies, like hurricanes, provide plenty of warning and preparation time. Other emergencies, like fires, occur with no notice and require a quick response. Talk to your family about your escape and evacuation plans, meeting places and the supplies or equipment you may need. Resources to help you plan and prepare are available at www.ready.gov
Remember that healing takes time. While Norwalkers have come far and continue to rebuild, many may still not feel “recovered” from the storm. In fact, some people may find the anniversary is triggering strong emotions such as anxiety, sadness or depression. With widespread news coverage marking the anniversary, we’re surrounded by reminders of the hurricane.
If you’re having strong emotions a year after Hurricane Sandy, it’s important to know you’re not alone. Everyone copes differently and one year is not a long time for some. There’s no timeline for healing. Think about healthy things that you normally do to get through tough times—and keep doing them. Whether it means keeping a journal or exercising, if it’s helped you in the past, make time for that activity as the anniversary approaches.
It’s okay to ask for help if emotions are too strong. Friends, family, Clergy or other professionals can offer support. If you are unsure of where to get help, contact Infoline 2-1-1 and ask for Sandy resources.