Lessons From Superstorm Sandy

Staten Island commercial bank underscores protective measures

for a post-Sandy environment


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Sandy's fury here was devastating, yet it did teach Islanders some hard truths about coping, adversity, and preparedness.


Victory State Bank, Staten Island's only community-based business bank, suggests that neighbors reflect from time to time on being not only vulnerable but also resilient.


A brief cautionary article about the fatal storm's destruction says that if Sandy taught us anything, it's that almost anyone can suddenly wind up living primitively for days or weeks on end.


Geography didn't matter. Huge swaths of the metro region, not normally associated with ferocious weather systems, lost power, heat and hot water.


Neither did social status. Homes of the rich and poor along the Eastern seaboard were equally devastated.


Some lessons learned from the superstorm were assembled by GAF, which describes itself as North America's largest roofing manufacturer, with the aim of helping a reader from becoming a future statistic.


§  Generators alone don't cut it

Websites like Ready.gov advise people to "install a generator for emergencies." Rarely mentioned, though, is that as good as they are at keeping you powered, GAF says unless you've also got a carbon monoxide detector – which costs all of $20 or so – you risk being slowly poisoned by fumes spewed by generators in too-tight quarters.


At least nine fatalities were linked to that one carbon monoxide omission alone, and the article cites Dr. Robert Glatter, a physician at Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital, who called it "a major concern of public health officials after the storm."


Moreover, when gasoline was in short supply, getting fuel for a generator became an issue unto itself.



Guess what those who routinely pay by credit or debit cards discovered also doesn't work during power outages? GAF cited ATM machines.


And because many stores could only accept real money, the article says it fell to those like the Hoboken woman who kept a "$100 emergency bill in a safe at home" to bail out neighbors.




This was one of the many lessons right here on the Island. Not only did many drown in the storm surge, but also the widely reported death of hero police officer Artur Kasprzak is a stark reminder.


After helping seven other relatives get up to the attic of their brick home on Doty Avenue in South Beach, the 28-year-old was electrocuted by a live wire when he went down into the flooded basement to check further.



Not surprisingly, GAF recommends fortifying the roof. Roofs suffered some of the biggest casualties from the ferocious winds, it says. While there's nothing you can do to prevent trees from smashing through them, other homeowners might have gotten off more easily had they heeded the advice of Jason Joplin, program manager of the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence: "Always install a drip edge to prevent wind-driven rain from entering the roof fascia and deck."




One last pointer comes from a survivalist blogger for folks inclined not to evacuate so as to protect against looters: "Hang a glow-stick somewhere near the window," and leave.



About Victory State Bank

VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN) is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. As Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank, Victory State Bank operates five full-service locations on the Island: The main office is in the community of Great Kills, and branches are in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank. For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100 or visited online at www.VictoryStateBank.com.


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