Irene is gone, now it’s time for neighbors to help

Published 10:23 pm Saturday, August 27, 2011

Now that Hurricane Irene has passed on by, it’s time to assess the damage, help neighbors and stay out of the way of emergency crews who are assisting others.

More than three years ago, the entire nation watched while Suffolk came together to help one another after a devastating tornado.

This situation is no different — it’s only a different type of natural disaster with damage spread over a much larger area.

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Neighbors still can come together. So if you see someone in need of help, offer it willingly. If you have a chainsaw, use it to help clear the roads of fallen trees. If you have extra food or water, give it to someone who needs it. If you have three working flashlights and a neighbor has none, give them one. If their car can’t get out of your neighborhood but your truck can, give them a ride to where they need to go.

It’s also important during this time to stay out of the way of emergency officials and not create more disaster. Use flashlights or electric lanterns as a source of light, rather than candles or oil lanterns. Don’t leave your house needlessly — the roads may still be unsafe. And be patient with utility companies and city workers, who have thousands of calls to respond to.

By doing these things, you will help your neighbors and the city recover from Hurricane Irene and get back to business as usual in Suffolk.