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Storm Recovery Guide: Advice for the Aftermath

Check here for info on everything from where to dispose of debris to how to apply for disaster assistance.

Three days after Hurricane Sandy left record flooding in Ocean City in a near direct-hit, residents are back on the island and beginning the cleanup work.

Here's some practical advice on everything from where to dispose of trash to how to volunteer to help.

This is a living document. We'll add new segments as new questions and issues arise. Readers are invited to post questions and advice in the comments section below.

 

STORM DEBRIS

The city is extending the hours of the Shelter Road Recycling Center to help accommodate residents and businesses with their storm cleanup.  

Shelter Road will be open from 7 a.m. to  6 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. The city has placed extra containers at the yard for disposal of storm debris. Additionally, crews have placed containers throughout the city to be utilized by the residents during their cleanup efforts.  It is asked that contractors use the Shelter Road facility.

If you are able to do so, trash, recycling and storm debris may be put out at your regular pickup area. The city is continuing to sweep the island and remove trash and debris until a schedule is determined.

Placement of containers is in parking lots located at: ­

  • Longport Bridge
  • Civic Center - 6th & the Boardwalk
  • 6th Street Fire headquarters
  • Bayside Center 520 Bay Avenue
  • 7th & Central
  • Moorlyn Terrace
  • City Hall - 9th & Asbury
  • 9th & the Boardwalk - North and South lots
  • Transportation Center - 10 & Haven
  • 12th & Asbury
  • 14th & Ocean
  • Aquatic Center - 17th & Simpson
  • Airport
  • 34th Street Acme
  • 46th Street Fire
  • 58th Street & the Beach Pavilion

Downtown Business District

  • 6th Street - West to Asbury and Asbury to Central
  • 7th Street - West to Asbury and Asbury to Central
  • 8th Street - West to Asbury and Asbury to Central
  • 9th Street - West to Asbury and Asbury to Central
  • 10th Street -West to Asbury and Asbury to Central
  • 11th Street -West to Asbury and Asbury to Central
  • 12th Street -West to Asbury and Asbury to Central

Please do not put trash out on top of any washed-up sand as it will delay the cleanup process. Please check www.ocnj.us and/or Channel 2 for updates.

 

SAND REMOVAL

Sand should be put onto the edge of streets. Not on the beach or in dumpsters. It's OK to put it on the street, even if the street has already been cleared.

The city has hired outside contractors to help remove the sand from streets, and crews are sifting the sand for debris before returning it to the beach.

 

APPLIANCES

"White goods" and appliances can go out to the curb at regular pickup spot.

 

FLOOD INSURANCE CLAIMS

The following information comes courtesy of the McMahon Agency in Ocean City:

  • First, report the claim to your insurance agent.
  • Take photos of all damaged property, especially any water lines indicating height of flood water on the exterior and in each affected room.
  • It is the responsibility of the the policyholder to protect the property from any further damage.
  • Remove wet carpeting and padding; if they got wet, the sub-flooring is also wet and needs to dry out.
  • Keep a 3x3 foot square of carpet and padding for the adjuster.
  • Cut drywall a few inches above the water line. Once drywall is wet, it is ruined.
  • Insulation in the crawlspace that was damaged needs to be removed.
  • Keep any damaged materials and property so it can be inspected by the insurance adjuster.
  • Separate damaged property from undamaged personal belongings.
  • Place damaged contents in a garage or a safe location as the adjuster needs to see the contents.

DO NOT THROW OUT CONTENTS UNTIL AFTER THE ADJUSTER HAS SEEN EVERYTHING!  

IF YOU THROW IT OUT BEFORE THE ADJUSTER CAN SEE IT, THEY CANNOT PAY YOU FOR IT!

  • Inventory your damaged contents and estimate the date purchased and cost.
  • DOCUMENT:  Take before and after photos of damage and what you do to clean up and protect against further damage.  A verbal statement of what you have done will NOT be enough for the insurance adjuster.  You must have documentation.  Photos are perfect!  

For more information, visit: www.floodsmart.gov

For cars: Flood damage is covered under comprehensive coverage and is subject to a deductible. 

 

TIPS TO PREVENT POST-FLOODING MOLD

The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the following post-flood cleanup advice:

Mold and mildew can start growing within 24 hours after a flood, and can lurk throughout a home, from the attic to the basement and crawl spaces. The best defense is to clean, dry or, as a last resort, discard moldy items.

Although it can be hard to get rid of a favorite chair, a child’s doll or any other precious treasure to safeguard the well-being of your loved ones, a top-to-bottom home cleanup is your best defense, according to the experts.

Many materials are prone to developing mold if they are damp or wet for too long. Start a post-flood cleanup by sorting all items exposed to floodwaters:

  • Wood and upholstered furniture, and other porous materials can trap mold and may need to be discarded.
  • Glass, plastic and metal objects and other items made of hardened or nonporous materials can often be cleaned, disinfected and reused.
  • Carpeting is a problem because drying it out does not remove mold spores. Carpets with mold and mildew should be removed.

All flood-dampened surfaces should be cleaned, disinfected and dried as soon as possible. Follow these tips to ensure a safe and effective cleanup:

  • Open windows for ventilation and wear rubber gloves and eye protection when cleaning. Consider using a mask rated N-95 or higher if heavy concentrations of mold are present.
  • Use a non-ammonia soap or detergent to clean all areas and washable items that came in contact with floodwaters.
  • Mix 1-1/2 cups of household bleach in one gallon of water and thoroughly rinse and disinfect the area. Never mix bleach with ammonia as the fumes are toxic.
  • Cleaned areas can take several days to dry thoroughly. The use of heat, fans and dehumidifiers can speed up the drying process.
  • Check out all odors. It’s possible for mold to hide in the walls or behind wall coverings. Find all mold sources and clean them properly.
  • Remove and discard all materials that can’t be cleaned, such as wallboard, fiberglass and cellulose areas. Then clean the wall studs where wallboard has been removed, and allow the area to dry thoroughly.

For other tips about post-flooding cleanup, visit www.fema.govwww.epa.govwww.redcross.org or www.cdc.gov.

 

DISASTER ASSISTANCE

Property and business owners should immediately begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov
by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov 
or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.

The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday until further notice.

Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.

 

DRIVING RESTRICTIONS

A mandatory driving curfew within Ocean City is in place from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. due to hazardous road conditions and power outages.

There is NO cut off time for residents, property and business owners to enter the city, but please use caution entering the island and making your way to your home.

 

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

See this story for a dynamic list of volunteer opportunities.

Visit and "like" OCNJ CARE on Facebook for a clearinghouse of various efforts.

Ocean City Baptist Church has invited 6 other churches from the area (MD, DE, PA, and NJ) to minister to the people of Ocean City by helping to clean up after Hurricane Sandy. Volunteers will be reaching out to the community this weekend by sending out teams to help people with whatever they might need — cleaning debris, shoveling sand, etc. They will be working all day on Saturday and the rest of the day on Sunday after a 9:30 a.m. worship service. If anybody needs assistance, email the church at ocbc@oceancitybaptist.org or call the pastor, Kevin O'Brien at 609-287-9797. Just let them know how they can help.

 

FAQs FROM THE CITY

The city is posting a useful Frequently Asked Questions page.

 

HEALTH QUESTIONS

To help New Jersey's residents clean up their homes and businesses after Hurricane Sandy, the Department of Health is making public health experts available through the state's 2-1-1 system to answer questions about food and water safety and mold removal, Gov. Chris Christie's office announced Thursday. 

To reach health experts, call 2-1-1 or 1-866-234-0964. Public health officials will be available to take calls 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The 2-1-1 human services hotline is open 24/7. 

 

CHAMBER-RECOMMENDED CONTRACTORS

The Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce offers the following:

"It is important that homeowners and business owners contact trusted contractors with good credentials and with mercantile licenses. Do not be scammed out of resources by people claiming to be contractors, taking an initial deposit and leaving town.

Here is a link to some of our trusted contractors and clean-up crews: http://www.oceancityvacation.com/business-directory/home-garden.html "

 

FREE CLEANING PRODUCT SAMPLES

The Simple Green Bus will be in Ocean Cit on Friday (Nov. 2) at 10 a.m. at the Ocean City Firehouse parking lot at the corner of 6th and Asbury with coffee, doughnuts and free product samples (nontoxic, biodegradable all-purpose cleaner).

 

TAX-COLLECTION EXTENSION

Due to the storm damage sustained to the Tax Collection office located on the first floor of City Hall, we are asking tax payers, if possible, to please pay their taxes online or by mail until a temporary facility has been established.

City Hall Offices will be closed November 12, 2012 and the grace period has been extended to and ends November 13.

Please be advised that postmarks are not accepted in accordance with the State of New Jersey tax laws, therefore the payment must be received by November 13, 2012.

Taxes can be paid on line at www.ocnj.us/tax. If you are using the bill pay feature with your bank, please allow sufficient time, 7-10 days for your payment to reach us. The tax collection web site is sent directly to our bank account whereas using the bill pay feature of your own bank will require a check to be sent to this office.

The new location for the Tax Collection office will be posted once available. Limited operations are available on the 2nd floor at 861 Asbury Ave. from 8:45 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday thru Friday. Our phone number is 609-525-9379.

Douglas Bergen (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 12:54 AM
This from the city: If you are able to do so, trash, recycling and storm debris may be put out at your regular pickup area. The city is continuing to sweep the island and remove trash and debris until a schedule is determined.
Ashley Orr November 02, 2012 at 01:01 AM
I feel stuck out here in Ohio unable to get there and help. I have gone to ocean city every summer for the past 28 years. Kudos to everyone who's pitching in, I"m there in spirit!
Karen November 02, 2012 at 01:28 AM
I have baby girl clothing size 6-24 months(for cold weather)to donate. Does anyone know where I can drop it off? I could drop off tomorrow or I can go down on Saturday(we have a house on 1st)Thank you
Karen Condit November 02, 2012 at 01:42 AM
My mom is a property owner and we are coming down tomorrow to check on her house. Are we allowed to stay the night or do we need to get off the island by nightfall? Mom thought she heard this.
Laura Mackenzie November 02, 2012 at 04:48 AM
Please come out and help us support the people that have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. We will be holding a donation drive on Sunday, November 4th between 10:00am and 2:00pm @ the Elwood Firehouse. After all donations are received we will then distribute them to the shelter that is located @Pleasantville High School. Some of the items needed are: gently used winter clothing from babies to adult sizes, coats, blankets, pillows, (please wash all items as they will be used immediately), sneakers/boots, children's books, board games, adult & kids diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles, feminine products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, deodorant, canned goods, water, individually wrapped snacks, & anything else you may think will be useful. Please contact me, Karen Pineiro @609-813-1043 through Facebook or Crystal Pineiro-Schoenstein, if you would like to make donations but are not able to make it to the Firehouse. We also need help on Sunday collecting & organizing the items & delivering them to the shelter. Let me know if you can help. No monetary donations accepted please contact the Red Cross for that. * Boxes needed for Sunday.
lwhssh November 02, 2012 at 11:42 AM
We are a new house. 2-3 years old. Typical oc house, two family condo up and down. Built on piles. We got around 18" of water in the garage and utility rooms. None in. The living area. I was prepaid to remove the Sheetrock but it appears to be fine. It appears to be a waterproof type not your typical drywall. Since its new I figured its subject to newer building codes. Do any of you know if it is or is not necessary to remove it? Any builders out there? This is only in the lower garage area which is at grade.
lwhssh November 02, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Prepared not prepaid
happycamper November 02, 2012 at 12:12 PM
call the minister referenced in the article, Kevin O'Brien at the Baptist church. He'll point you in a good direction.
happycamper November 02, 2012 at 12:13 PM
you can stay. I hope her house is in good shape!
marco November 02, 2012 at 01:00 PM
I have a place at 35th and haven that came away, thankfully, unscathed. I'll be down Saturday am to reassess my place. If anyone needs a hand with labor or cleanup, I'm available to help. I'm not a contractor but I have elbow grease capability for the town I love. Stay strong everyone. Text me if you need a hand. 215 740 9698. Marc.
marco November 02, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Cheryl I can text you a pic of your place if you still have need. Lmk via text.
lori November 02, 2012 at 01:18 PM
I have never heard of waterproof drywall. Drywall is a porous material that wicks moisture up and around as well as inside to contaminate insulation. Experts say to remove all affected areas plus 12 inches above the water line. In a living area it is advisable to remove all drywall as, like I said, it's porous. You were spared for sure.
Brad November 02, 2012 at 01:23 PM
Doug, Did OC suggest what to do with appliances including microwaves, tvs, etc?
marco November 02, 2012 at 01:40 PM
I didn't hear about appliances but microwaves would fit in the dumpsters. I'm sure they will do bulk pickup if left by curb. Anyone know how the beaches fared? Tons of erosion?
Douglas Bergen (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 02:01 PM
The city's FAQ: http://www.ocnj.us/index.cfm?fuseaction=content.pageDetails&id=4625&typeID=157 mentions electronics (but not appliances). I'll see if I can get an answer.
Douglas Bergen (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Just go an answer: "White goods" and appliances can go out to the curb at regular pickup spot.
Douglas Bergen (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Should have an answer to this later this morning.
Douglas Bergen (Editor) November 02, 2012 at 02:49 PM
This from the city: Sand should be put onto the edge of streets. Not on the beach or in dumpsters. It's OK to put it on the streets even if the street has already been cleared.
John D Leahy November 02, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Can you post a list of reliable landscapers or contractors willing to remove sand from our property?
John D Leahy November 02, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Haven't be enable to get down to OC to check my home. I have received pictures and seen it on the news. Can't wait till SUMMER.
oclocal1 November 02, 2012 at 11:30 PM
John I am A year round local call green landscape local in town born and raised also owns box of rain irrigation.
oclocal1 November 02, 2012 at 11:39 PM
To all who are coming to help us year round residents and business owners and know our city take A walk down asbury ave our downtown our merchants every business all of you ride your bikes to have breakfast at or lunch or just shop are devastated! Just so sad and such A disaster to the small business owners many will not be able to recover and the art league on asbury was A complete loss art wise. Wow and just help your neighbor walk our awesome island we will survive we are ocean city!!! Thank you to all who come all who can help to get our island back and we keep our island clean,safe and friendly for when summer comes for all of you. Now we need your help nothing is to small.
Kevin November 03, 2012 at 01:04 AM
If you are using or considering using an emergency generator during storm outages please be aware of the following; 1. Never back feed your electrical system using any type of double ended plug. 2. Never back feed your electrical system through the dryer outlet. 3. Have a professional electrical contractor install a transfer switch such as http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_15?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=transfer+switch+for+generator&sprefix=transfer+switch%2Caps%2C240 4. Never run a generator inside the house or attached garage. 5. Make sure your smoke detectors and CO2 detectors are properly functioning. 6. Never overload the generator. Unless correctly sized, it probably won’t run your entire house. 7. Decide what you need to be able to run during an outage and size the generator accordingly. Forget about large appliances such as A/C, electric water heaters, electric ovens and ranges, etc.. There are numerous types of generator available such as portable, permanent, gas powered, propane powered, natural gas and diesel. Pick the one that is best for you. Propane units can be stored without worry of the fuel going bad. Gasoline units will need the fuel replaced or an additive used. There are also automatic and manual units. An automatic unit would be a good choice for people with health problems requiring uninterrupted power. Manual systems are less expensive.
OClover November 03, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Curious as to why all the art was left in place. There was plenty of time to prepare and move it to high ground. Such a shame.
Karen Condit November 03, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Three cheers for the city workers and landscapers in the south end of Ocean City! They have been working dawn to dusk to clear the streets and houses of the piles of sand occupying the streets and houses. Houses on Asbury Avenue at the south end fared very well. Older homes, lower to the ground experienced massive flooding. The water line on Asbury Avenue (south end) was about 1 foot. Ocean front and bay front homes showed a variety of damage.
Karen Condit November 03, 2012 at 08:12 PM
There are also many drop off points such as Acme parking lot at 34th street and the firehouse lot at the south end of OC.
Chris F. November 04, 2012 at 04:17 AM
We were in Art on Asbury the day before the storm - they had everything off the floor, but nobody expected the water level that we got.
Chris F. November 04, 2012 at 04:23 AM
The crews at 3rd and the Boardwalk worked 24/7 to remove three feet of sand from the street and the Gardens Plaza parking lot. So impressive to watch truck after truck leaving with the sand, and the street sweepers going up and down the street. At this rate OC will look "like it never happened" before long!
Nancy November 04, 2012 at 07:31 AM
I have an insulation question for any professionals that may know somthing about this. We know the water surged over our lot. We have vents in the foundation allowing the water to flow under and through . The watermarks are about a foot high and we are not sure the insulation under the house stayed dry. Do we need to replace it if it is about a foot above the waterline? Also, what kind of contractor do you call to get this kind of thing checked and fixed?
Debbie Burkert November 10, 2012 at 11:31 PM
We have a property at 702 Wesley that sleeps 16. We would like to offer our home at a great discount to anyone displaced or workers helping to restore our beautiful city. Our website is www.wesleytwins.com. Our contact info is there if anyone is interested.

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