Based on the fact that the police have had to publicly ask people to stop calling 911 for Causeway updates and that the State Police now have to patrol the Bay to stop people from coming over, it seems well evidenced that we humanz lack patience. Concern for our own private little corners of the disaster is obvious and understandable, but both community-wide safety (gas leaks) and health hazards (water/sewage) abound. Those must be addressed first for obvious reasons. I’m still hopeful we’ll be on this weekend but there is a big question mark hanging over the stability of LBI’s infrastructure.
To kill time we can start making some plans for repairs. Here are a few things you should be prepared to hear:
At the Home Depot: “Sorry, we’re sold out of that. We’ll have more next week.”
Bring what you can. The things you need from the hardware store are the first things to go in Hurricane racked areas. Tarps, generators, plywood, glass, roof tiles, extension cords, and gas chainsaws can be hard to find so don’t expect them to be there. This would be particularly true in Manahwakin where these items were already raided well before the storm hit. And considering how far inland the damage extends in NJ, driving to the next town’s Lowes will probably yield the same results.
BYO. Bring what you can, especially if they are items worth storing in a Sand Castle in the first place (tarps, plywood, etc.) I would strongly recommend:
A Wet Vac, Locks with Hinges (your house may need to be secured in strange ways), Duct Tape, Tools, Heavy Duty Contractor’s Trash Bags.
At The Insurance Agent: “Looks like that was damaged when you ‘fixed’ it”
We’ll probably talk more about the woes of actually collecting your insurance at a later date, but for now there are a few important things to remember. Generally, if you are planning on tasking your insurance with covering every expense related to this, it is advisable to proceed cautiously and with tremendous amounts of documentation. A video camera is a must.
The general rule is to only repair something for the purpose of preventing further damage. If you plan on collecting reimbursements for those things you can fix yourself, then don’t fix them until the Insurance company says it’s OK. Take careful documentation before you fix anything. Video. Keep a journal. Obviously keep receipts. There is no such thing as too much documentation in the paper flooded world of Insurance.
In Your Driveway: “I’m here to help you”
While I’m fully envisioning a feel-good, hand-hand, neighbor-helping-neighbor vibe across the Island during the start of the rebuild, let one eye cast a wary glance at every stranger, phone call, and piece of mail. The truth is that scams abound during tragedy and your misery is igniting joyful giggles in bloodsucking sociopaths all over the place who are right now hatching schemes to defraud you. Be cautious of extremely unskilled carpenters walking the Island with hammers willing to lend a hand in exchange for cash, and junk mail on official looking stationary offering you loans and settlements.