SoCal Relief Agencies Help New York in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

Some 300 Red Cross trucks join others from municipal utilities to help rebuild after Hurricane Sandy

By Jason Kandel and Michelle Valles
|  Sunday, Nov 4, 2012  |  Updated 4:41 PM PDT
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Drivers from the Red Cross in Los Angeles join other relief efforts from Southern California heading to hurricane-damaged New York on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012.

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All 300 emergency response vehicles of the Red Cross in the lower 48 states are being deployed to New York to help with the disaster relief efforts in the wake of the devastation from Sandy.

The trucks, which look like ambulances, will take up to five days to travel to New York and New Jersey and stay three weeks.

Once there, the trucks and their drivers will carry food and supplies such as flashlights, blankets and batteries to neighborhoods hardest hit by Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record.

“The scale and scope of the disaster is huge and they need the manpower and the equipment,” said Scott Underwood, the director of disaster services for the L.A. region of the Red Cross. "I don't think we are prepared for the amount of the devastation and heartache that we're going to come across."

The Red Cross deployment is the latest relief effort by Southern California agencies.

Trucks from Los Angeles, Burbank, Pasadena, Riverside are headed to help rebuild New York.

Fifty-two trucks and 90 Southern California utility workers flew from a military base near Riverside to Long Island, N.Y. on Sunday, to assist rebuilding a regional electrical system shattered by the storm.

Crews from city-owned utilities in Anaheim, Burbank and Riverside made up a small part of the contingency, bolstered by three dozen trucks and 60 workers from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The crews will assist the Long Island Power Authority with power restoration in the suburbs east of New York City.

More than 400,000 Long Island customers remained without power as of Saturday night, the DWP said in a statement.

“The president has asked that power be restored as soon as possible, and we're answering that call for help by assisting our fellow public utility to restore power to its customers,” said Pasadena Power and Water Department general manager Phyllis Currie.

The trucks were secured to platforms for loading into large C-17 propeller-driven cargo planes.

Some C-5A cargo planes, the largest jet planes in the U.S. Air Force, were also being used to ferry DWP trucks east.

The Los Angeles city council approved the emergency move Wednesday.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said he is “proud that crews from the DWP will head to New York to join the enormous and complex effort to restore power to so many people who are suffering.”

Line crews, tree trimmers and fleet support workers are being airlifted east, along with bucket trucks, digger derricks, and other support vehicles. The crews are expected to be on the East Coast for two weeks.

Costs will be reimbursed by the Long Island Power Authority under mutual aid agreements, and the utility is expected to have its costs reimbursed by the federal government. 

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