Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

November 16, 2012

Local emergency responders provide relief after Sandy

GOSHEN — Goshen emergency responders returned home last weekend after being deployed to the East Coast to help residents affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Aiding East Coasters were Goshen Fire Department Chief Dan Sink, Chief Paramedic Kit Castetter and Elkhart County Red Cross Executive Director Frank Connolly.

“It’s a fun aspect of my job that’s different from my daily job that I get to participate in,” Chief Sink said. “It was a great experience and ... tiresome.”

Connolly said he slept most of one day and part of another day after his return home.

His job was to manage all the American Red Cross shelters in the state of New York for Hurricane Sandy, including New York City, he said.

“I was incredibly proud of the team I worked with. It didn’t start easy and the team didn’t back down,” Connolly said. “They made sure everyone was safe and secure. It was tough to find shelter for staff and the gas shortage provided challenges.”

Chief Sink helped develop an All Hazards Incident Management Team in Baltimore, Md., he said after leaving Oct. 28, and “then the hurricane turned into a northerly track and hit New York and New Jersey.” They demobilized on the morning of Oct. 31, camped overnight on an Army base in Maryland and traveled to New York on Nov. 1.

“The objectives were to provide infrastructure support for the city of Long Beach, NY, and we provided governmental support and support for local ongoing response,” Chief Sink said. “We provided technical logistic support, facilitated pumps for water and sewers, and generators for city hall, fire stations, police stations, places that really needed power.”

He described his daily schedule which began at 5 a.m. and in the command post by 7 a.m. for briefing for the day followed by a tactics meeting at 11 a.m. and he attended all the meetings, he said. The operations ended at 7 p.m. when he returned to the Jericho Volunteer Fire Department, where his sleeping quarters were at.

“I ate dinner between 7 and 8 p.m., went to bed, got up and did it all over again the next day,” Chief Sink said. “The destruction is difficult to describe even with pictures I brought back. The destruction is incredible. Building will take literally months and even years.”

Connolly said after Hurricane Sandy hit landfall and “was considered a substantial event,” he helped set up people to manage shelters and others to manage the day-to-day operations in Long Island City, New York City, Westchester County and upstate New York.

He said it was complicated and challenging to find shelter locations within certain areas due to legalities.

“Our objective is to place shelters in affected areas as close as possible and still be safe,” Connolly said. “At the peak of the storm, there were 15,000 to 20,000 people in shelters. That’s a pretty large number. We could have sheltered more if we needed. We were busy and even with the size and complexity, things went very well.”

Some of the more difficult aspects after the storm included getting power for shelter needs, finding shelter for the American Red Cross staff, and getting people back in their homes, he added.

“There were a lot of challenges with the gas shortage and power outage, which affected communication, as well,” Connolly said. “There are about 2,500 people still in shelters, so the need is reducing.”

1
Text Only
Local News
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow