Bay Area responding to Eastern Seaboard disaster

Red Cross, National Guard units, firefighters, PG&E crews head to New York, New Jersey, other states

After post-tropical cyclone Sandy made landfall Monday evening and continued to wreak havoc along the Eastern Seaboard from Virginia to Massachusetts, cutting power to millions and flooding homes and streets, the Bay Area is responding to the natural disaster.

The 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard based out of Mountain View sent 100 service men and women Monday to a staging area in Charlotte, N.C., to assist with victims, most likely affected by flooding, according to spokesman Capt. Donald LeBlanc.

He said seven aircrafts, including aerial refuelers and two HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, left from Moffett Field Monday to assist with the rescue on the East Coast.

Menlo Park Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said the local Urban Search and Rescue Incident Support Team is on standby, ready to be deployed for water rescues.

"At this point California is committed to sending water rescue assets and a team if necessary," he said.

According to Gov. Jerry Brown's office, on Saturday ten first responders from teams in the Sacramento and Southern California areas were sent to Virginia to support Federal Emergency anagement Agency requests.

Widespread power outages have affected more than 8 million, which is a top concern that President Obama spoke about at a briefing about the hurricane Tuesday morning.

"The President made clear that beyond the immediate lifesaving and life sustaining activities, which remain the primary focus, he wanted his team to continue to focus on what they can do to support state, local, and private sector efforts to restore power and asked the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy to continue to work in support of FEMA towards this goal," according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security briefing


More than More than 2,300 disaster workers and over 200 emergency vehicles were been mobilized for the relief effort as over 9,000 people spent Tuesday night in more than 171 Red Cross shelters across 13 states. The numbers are increasing as the storm continues over Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee, according to a release.

"This response to Sandy is just getting started. The storm has left devastation in its wake and we will be helping people for weeks to come," said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president of disaster services for the Red Cross.

The Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross is sending 16 local volunteers, including one San Ramon resident, to New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh and West Virginia to provide support.

PG&E announced Monday that more than 150 employees were heading to New York to help restore power in the aftermath of the storm.

Utility companies in the storm's path have called for extra workers and resources, with PG&E called to assist Con Edison in New York City and Westchester County.

PG&E will send overhead and underground maintenance and construction crews and electric first responders and damage assessment

personnel along with other support staff.

Locals looking for ways to assist those on the East Coast can head to a Bay Area hardware store, Pedrotti Ace Hardware in Benicia, which is

matching customer donations to the American Red Cross's Hurricane Sandy Fund. The store hopes to raise $10,000.

"We're trying to inspire people" to spread good will, said storeowner Gene Pedrotti.

Customers can make donations at the store located at 830 Southampton Road in Benicia.

— Bay City News Service


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