March 23, 2013

Firefighters collect donations for storm victims

From staff reports

PORTLAND – The Fire Department on Saturday will collect supplies at all of the city's fire stations to assist victims of Hurricane Sandy.

Firefighters will collect tools and supplies from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for people affected by Hurricane Sandy in the New York area who were subsequently hit with a major snowstorm.

The effort, dubbed Maine Helps, is designed to overcome disaster fatigue, which occurs when immediate dangers of the storm have passed and news coverage ceases, but the need still remains, the city said in a news release.

Hurricane Sandy hit New York on Oct. 29, 2012.

"Disasters, of course, have an immediate response phase, and there always is an outpouring of support in the days following the event," Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria said in a written statement.

"But victims often face lengthy delays before they can even get back into their homes to assess damages and begin repairs, and as the weeks and months pass, the relief supplies begin to dwindle just when some of the harder work begins," LaMoria said.

Needed items include: protective goggles, commercial-grade humidifiers, work gloves, brooms, hammers, claw bars, paint rollers, paint brushes, trays, bleach, sandpaper, utility knives, propane space heaters and carbon monoxide detectors.

Pet supplies and non-perishable food are also needed.

The collected materials will be shipped to distribution centers in metro New York, where they will be sent to heavily damaged areas of Rockaway, Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island.

Maine Helps organizers include retired New York fire Lt. Kevin Hogan of Portland, who raced to the World Trade Center site on Sept. 11, 2001.

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