Superstorms and hurricanes have rocked the northeast, especially New Jersey, in recent years. Hurricanes Irene, Sandy, and now Ida proved that we are still far from where we need to be in terms of preparedness, resources, and updated infrastructure. In the wake of these climate catastrophes, we see homes ravaged by floodwaters, vehicles totaled and/or washed away for miles, roads and highways become impassable – but there are steps you and your community can take to be ready for the next disaster. With September being National Preparedness Month, ready.gov has outlined what you can do throughout the next 30 days to prime yourself for the next storm:
1. Make a Plan – Discuss with your family and community members how you will communicate during a disaster. Come up with a system where no one is left alone or behind in the midst of an outage or serious flooding.
2. Build a Kit – Make sure to gather as much supplies as possible, for your household and surrounding neighbors. Essentials include: gallons of water, non-perishable food (such as dried/canned beans, peanut butter, dried fruits and vegetables, canned poultry/fish, jerky, etc.), a basic first-aid kit, flashlights, batteries, a battery-powered radio, paper products, and garbage bags.
3. No Cost Measures – Sign up for online and telephone alerts from local agencies that warn against severe weather, road closures, school closings, and more. Make time to secure and store any irreplaceable and important documents and personal items where they will not be damaged or lost. Distribute contact lists with phone numbers and email addresses for the community in the event that you need to reach each other or in case you get separated.
The changing environment can be anxiety-inducing, but the best thing you can do is be ready for what is next. Hurricane Ida surprisingly devastated New Jersey, with 30 dead and hundreds displaced. If you or someone you know in Bergen, Hudson, or Passaic counties needs professional assistance with Hurricane-Ida related legal problems, please contact us via email: NNJLS@lsnj.org or via phone: 201-792-6363. Northeast New Jersey Legal Services offers the following disaster relief services:
· FEMA claims
· Homeowners and renters insurance claims
· Tenant evictions related the storm
· Housing habitability issues arising from flooding, power outages, and other storm damage
· Tenant security deposit return
· Denial of emergency and other storm related housing assistance
· Denial of emergency public benefits, such as food stamps, unemployment assistance, and other public benefits
For more information on our services and hours of operation, please visit our main site: www.northeastnjlegalservices.org. Stay safe!