As anyone who looked to do any volunteering at all during Sandy learned, the quickest path to helping out ran through the folks at Occupy Sandy. Not, say, FEMA or NCYHA. And sure you could take our word, the excessive popularity of our volunteer post or your own experience with who you worked with when you volunteered. But now there’s hard data in the form of an AP poll that says New Yorkers know what we all felt: we’re willing to count on our neighbors in a disaster, and they’re willing to help us out. That’s the good news. The bad? No one thinks we’re prepared for the next one.
In talking to people from New York and New Jersey who who were hit by Sandy, pollsters asked them who they felt they could turn to for help after the storm. 70% of respondents said they could rely on local first responders like firefighters and police a great deal, 59% of the people who answered said the same for their friends and family in the immediate vicinity and 57% said it for friends and family more than a mile from where the affected people live. On the other hand, only 33% and 30% of respondents said they’d count on their state government or FEMA a great deal.
That makes sense of course, because according to some follow-up questions, 60% of respondents had been helped by friends and family or first responders. The government didn’t do so well, clocking in at just 26% (state government) and 19% (federal) for a great deal or quite a bit of help given to people hit by the storm. A nimble post-storm volunteer force is definitely a plus for an area, but it would be interesting to see what people say as the money from the federal government finally starts rolling in.
And finally, there was the question of whether or not New York and New Jersey were ready for the next storm. People who lived in the areas hit by Sandy were overwhelmingly negative on the subject of preparedness, with only 40% thinking their neighborhood was moderately prepared for the next one and 41% saying their neighborhoods weren’t well prepared or prepared at all for the next storm. But hey, there’s still time to pour a bunch of money into a giant hydraulic lift for the city that would raise if 40 feet during hurricane season. Even if that does sound a little supervillian-y.