Jersey Shore Fire Companies Need Equipment Help After Sandy [AUDIO]
Three and a half months after Superstorm Sandy, fire departments up and down the Jersey Shore are reporting problems with their equipment because of prolonged exposure to the elements.
A few departments have received some insurance money, but so far, FEMA funds have not been forthcoming.
“Our radio tower sustained damage…The tower got bent over on the top because of the wind and we’ve received a little insurance money,” Peter Hartney, the President of the Surf City Volunteer Fire Company, said.
“But we had damage mostly to our protective equipment,” Hartney said, explaining that the suits sustained damage while fire fighters were out in the elements. “Salt plays havoc over time, and it’s compromising the equipment, the suits and so forth.”
He adds a fire and rescue truck have also sustained damage, but another fire truck was moved inland, and was not damaged.
“We’ve been fortunate,” says Hartney, “People have been very generous in just making spontaneous donations, so we’ve been able to pay for it as it goes along. We’re keeping stuff repaired – it breaks, we fix it…But, down the line it’s going to be a real problem…It’s not all at once that things break – it’s going to be over time, and it really kind of shortens the life of the vehicles…One fire truck is half a million dollars…We’re volunteers and we do our own fundraising, so for us to raise half a million dollars – we can’t even do it in a normal year.”
As far as when he expects money from FEMA to arrive, Hartney says, “They’ve given us no indication at all…Our message to FEMA: lets get it done yesterday – we were there in the emergency – we managed the emergency and took care of the people here- and now it’s time for them to step up to the plate…We stepped up because we care about our community – our neighbors – as volunteers, and now we have the possibility of getting stuck in a long bureaucratic process…It’s disheartening.”