WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- One year ago next week, Hurricane Sandy landed in Westchester, delivering unprecedented damage.
Homes were destroyed, power was out for weeks and waiting in line for gas for more than an hour became the norm. Three people died, two of them children.
Sandy, the second costliest hurricane in U.S. history, lasted from Oct. 22 to Oct. 31 of last year.
Greenburgh Police Chief Joseph DeCarlo said Hurricane Sandy was "the worst storm I had to deal with."
"It took about 10 days to return to normalcy," DeCarlo said.
Jim Killoran, the executive director of Habitat for Humanity Westchester, was fortunate to have thousands of volunteers aid in relief efforts.
"It's all about helping," Killoran said. "The power and importance of volunteerism is paramount."
Killoran used strategies from the 2007 floods that damaged the Sound Shore when helping people with Sandy. He got trees off the road in Mount Vernon and New Rochelle and delivered generators to Chappaqua.
Witnessing the damage made Killoran realize that Westchester residents need to be better prepared in the event of a disaster.
"Every street and every neighborhood needs to create a disaster captain and disaster plan," Killoran said.
Killoran said the area needs more public transit, less concrete and more green buildings.
"We're in an environmental nightmare," Killoran said. "These 100-year storms are coming every year. FEMA is broke and insurance makes it more difficult."
A year later, people are still in need, Killoran said. He said Tuesday, Oct. 29 will be an emotional day.
"I'm sure I'll cry," Killoran said.
DeCarlo, like Killoran stressed residents need to have their own disaster plan. The Town of Greenburgh has an emergency notification system on its website.
"People need to be prepared to be on their own," DeCarlo said. "We always learn from storms."
DeCarlo said having a battery powered radio will allow people to remain in contact if the power goes out.
"We are prepared, but government can only do so much," DeCarlo said. "We can't do it all."
While the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club was mostly spared from the worst of Sandy's wrath, members of the working man's club were back at the club to repair the damage.
The club, which sits 6 feet above sea level, saw storm surges up to 9 feet. But the club was prepared.
"We had taken steps to get equipment and other items up to the second floor," DeCarlo said. "No boats were damaged because we moved them to higher ground. Our wood walls simply drained after the storm since there is no sheet rock."
The club did suffer thousands of dollars in damage to the refrigerator, furnace, vending machines and furniture.
"The greatest structural damage was to our exterior decking and landscaping, which suffered erosion," Earle said.
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