As I write this, most of us are watching Sandy cause her damage from the privacy of a safe living room ["Stormin' Sandy," News, Oct. 30]. But do we think about the municipal employees who are away from their families, making sure that our communities are safe and sanitary?
I know this firsthand. I am a retired civil servant who worked for 37 years as a water supplier, and 10 of those years for an incorporated village.
Civil servants who respond to emergencies like this include workers in areas involving water, wastewater, electricity, police, fire, emergency management, highways, sanitation, ambulances and more. Preparation for a storm of this magnitude is an ongoing function of public service. It starts with designing facilities with generator power, and regular care and maintenance of this equipment. This past week, employees have been exercising equipment, checking fuel levels and practicing emergency response procedures.
The storm is letting us feel the effects of its winds and rain. The people on the North and South shores watch as the tides reach extreme levels. Municipal employees are on the job for hours, and do not know when they will be able to get home to their families. They make sure all facilities are working, regardless of the power being on or off.
This means going to plants that may be blocked by downed trees or power lines. This means getting through flooded streets. Some of them will have to respond to emergencies by foot, because it is the only way to help residents who are in trouble.
These people are often criticized. Newsday points out all the benefits of a job like this, such as pensions and salaries. We should show our appreciation for these employees' dedication, when they keep our basic services working regardless of what Mother Nature brings.
Ken Claus, Bethpage
We rode out Sandy, but now have suffered widespread damage to our electrical and transportation systems. We still have millions of people without power and many trees down.
But thanks go to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who mobilized various agencies to try to keep us all safe. Their safety tips and evacuations very likely saved lives.
Some residents did not take this situation seriously enough and could have endangered first responders. I praise our first responders who answered the call of duty to protect us.
I lived through Donna in 1960, but this storm was of greater proportions. Neighbor helped neighbor, and stranger helped stranger. New Yorkers proved once again that when things are at their very worst, we were at our very best.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Glen Oaks Village
Local weather forecasters and news media did an excellent job warning and guiding us throughout Sandy.
Weather forecasters and news people who were reporting out in the field are to be commended for their dedication.
John Amato, Fresh Meadows
There are a lot of people without power and without a generator. If you are home and have a wireless router, if there's a password on it, take it off. Granted, it's not much, but a lot of areas don't have cellphone service, so at least people can communicate with their families and let them know they are -- or aren't -- OK.
My grandpa and I took the password off of our router and labeled the router FreeWifi4Sandy so the other families in the neighborhood can contact their relatives and get help. Practically the whole area is blocked off by trees in the roads.
Shantese Wilkinson, Central Islip