Hurricane Irene Provides Role Reversal

Residents along Florida’s Gulf Coast are no doubt feeling a role reversal in the days following Hurricane Irene’s path of destruction from North Carolina to New England. The images on TV of mountain towns in upstate New York cut off by flood waters and water rescues in New Jersey are certainly different than we’re used to seeing when tropical weather usually ravages our state and states to the west. For many residents in the areas affected by Irene, the hurricane of that size will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Hearing from family and friends is an important part of the recovery process for residents whose homes have sustained damage and people who have temporarily cut off by flood waters. According to news reports, some groups of people in the Northeast may be stranded for days due to flooded roads and washed out bridges. Resources, like food and clean water, may be sharply limited, too. Widespread power outages have prompted utility crews from outside the region, including crews from Florida, to provide assistance in outage areas.

If you’ve experienced the wrath of one of nature’s most formidable forces, you likely remember living in survival mode for days or even weeks. But in an area like New England, hurricanes are a rare occurrence and residents are less likely to be prepared for either the initial impact or the aftermath. In fact, landlocked Vermont is battling its worst flooding in 70 years.

Another unexpected event connected to disasters like this one is the arrival of scam artists and unlicensed contractors looking to make fast money from home repair jobs. Hopefully, you never fell prey to one of these unethical individuals. But any experience you’ve had with them can be valuable to a friend or family member who may encounter someone similar during the cleanup and recovery period up north.

One of the best bits of advice you can give to a friend or family member affected by Irene is to recommend asking for several bids for any significant needs, such as roof repair. Also, tell them that checking the license of a contractor, getting the agreement in writing and avoiding those door-to-door sales calls are more than suggestions—they’re mandatory steps. Now your experience is paying off!