Susan Schmidt lives ten miles from the Jersey Shore, in Tinton Falls. Knowing that Hurricane Sandy was imminent, Schmidt got ready. She set out the flashlights and emergency radio. She bought extra batteries, extra food and extra water, and filled the car with gasoline. She and her husband moved their furniture from the first floor to the second before they evacuated.
“Susan is the most prepared person I have ever met,” comments American Red Cross worker Kristiana Almedia. “It’s like she got the Red Cross Hurricane Safety Checklist and made sure she did everything it recommended.”
When the Schmidts returned to their home, they found the front door and the garage door missing. The entire first floor was flooded. It was about what they expected.
Then Susan made a painful discovery; she had not thought to remove the family pictures from the first-floor walls. Wedding photos, school photos, photos of deceased loved ones—all were destroyed. She realized she had protected everything on the first floor except the one thing she could not replace.
The Schmidts have no idea where they will be living for the next few months. Before the storm they had talked about moving from Tinton Falls, and feel this may be the time to make that move, but are still uncertain.
One thing that is certain is that the Red Cross will be there as Schmidt and other residents of Tinton Falls recover, providing safe shelters, food, mental health and emotional support services, basic first aid and health services, clean-up supplies and comfort kits. In response to Superstorm Sandy, the Red Cross has opened shelters across several states, deployed disaster workers, sent in emergency response vehicles and provided thousands of meals.
The Red Cross will be helping people for weeks to come as they begin to recover from the effects of Sandy.