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Summer Journal

Volume 27, Issue 3

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Trunk or Treat - a story of Resilience

In Schoharie, New York, where over 200 homes were damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011, the community is demonstrating resiliency today, Halloween, in the throes of Hurricane Sandy. With so many homes, streets, sidewalks, and other potential hazards due to flooding, the community celebrated Halloween with "Trunk or Treat." Several community residents bring their vehicles to a central parking lot, decorate their trunks, tailgates or hatch backs, and invite children to "Trunk or Treat" by stopping at each vehicle. Many homes were uninhabitable in 2011, and many still are. Without safe passage along debris-laden streets in the village, the idea provides a safe and enjoyable way for children to have fun on Halloween.

This is one terrific example of resiliency. Others observed this year are the e-mails sent by insurance companies and banks to customers who may have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy. My insurance agency sent me an e-mail with instructions on how to contact them and how to file a claim if damages occurred due to Hurricane Sandy. Banks have sent messages to customers indicating relaxation of due dates on credit cards if the customer loses access to either electronic or postal payments.

These examples of preparedness and response illustrate what FEMA is referring to in the Whole Community doctrine and what DRJ conference courses and articles have espoused for several years. We all need to participate in disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

The Schoharie "Trunk or Treat" practice, the e-mails from insurance agencies, and the relaxation of due dates by banks such as Chase, are excellent examples of what I've called for years, public/private partnering.

This is not new in Schoharie. The high school students won the Samsung contest for the video they made on how the flood waters from Irene impacted the soil in this largely agricultural community. The community has demonstrated resiliency in a number of ways. I am particularly proud of their combining flood resiliency with safety for the children on Halloween.

We can all learn from these excellent practices.